India gets Rs.12 bn British aid for education, health

June 12th, 2008 - 9:29 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) The Department for International Development of Britain Wednesday announced aid worth 150 million pounds (Rs.12.6 billion) for universalising elementary education in India and another 15 million pound to Bihar for better women and child health. The funds will go to India’s flagship programme Sarva Sikha Abhiyan (SSA), DFID’s permanent secretary Nemat Shafik said while launching their country plan here.

“India is making waves as a new global power. But we should not forget the other faces of India. More than 400 million people in India live in extreme poverty and another 500 million who live on between $1 and $2 a day,” Shafik said at the residence of British high commissioner to India.

“I feel strongly that education is the key to a brighter future for India. Our support to SSA will help in getting all girls and boys into schools, helping India and the world, to meet the education millennium development goal target by 2015.

“And in doing so we will empower today’s children to lead India to a future where all participate in its growing prosperity,” she added.

DFID’s support will be used to persuade all children aged between 6-14 are enrolled and regularly attend primary schools. There will also be a focus on getting more children from marginalised social groups into education and improving the quality of education.

DFID also announced 15 million pounds in aid to Bihar and start a state development programme. It is working with World Bank and Asian Development Bank to begin its governance reform programme so that the maternal and child health situation can be bettered in the state.

In the next five years, Britain will invest up to 100 million pounds in Bihar on health such as “medical care for pregnant women”.

“Our state level programme in Bihar will help bring down under nutrition and provide better medical access to mothers and their new born children,” Shafik added.

During his visit to India earlier this year, Premier Gordon Brown had said that Britain will spend 825 million pounds in next three years, of which 500 million pounds will be on health and education in the country.

Commenting on DFID aid, Finance Secretary D. Subba Rao said: “In terms of money, international aid coming to India is very less. But its not money which is important but international aid agencies like DFID are important in improving the condition of people.”

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