UK may cut India aid in winter of discontent

Last Updated 18 October 2010, 13:03 IST

The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) to be outlined in the House of Commons on Wednesday is expected to include a substantial reduction in British aid to India, which is increasingly seen as an investor and economic powerhouse that can meet its challenges without dependence on international aid.

Britain's university sector is already in turmoil with leaked emails suggesting that it faces 4.2 billion pounds in cuts, which will lead to closure of some universities, many subject departments and job losses of thousands of lecturers in subjects such as Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The CSR will outline which areas of Whitehall's budget will be hit the hardest, as the government attempts to reduce the 155 billion pounds deficit accumulated allegedly due to wrong economic policies of the previous Labour governments.

The aim is to save 83 billion in the next four years of the current parliament.
The government has already announced that over 150 quasi-government bodies will soon be disbanded or restructured, leading to hundreds of thousands of job losses.
Almost every government department faces major cuts, including the Department for International Development, which will impact on aid Britain gives to countries such as India.

A substantial cut in aid to India is considered inevitable in the present economic climate.
Apart from reducing aid to India, the impact of the CSR is expected to adversely affect many Indian-origin lecturers and professionals employed in the government and related sectors.

This is likely to include cutbacks in projects that are outsourced to India by government departments.

The scale of the cuts envisaged by the David Cameron government to balance the national balance sheet has awed many, but the measures continue to receive public support on the ground that the short-term measures were necessary to secure a long-term economic future.

Today, leaders of 35 of the UK's biggest companies expressed their support for the plans.

The chairmen of Marks and Spencer, BT and GlaxoSmithKline are among those to have signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph in which they write that it would be a "mistake" for Osborne to water down his programme for reducing the budget deficit.

(Published 18 October 2010, 13:03 IST)

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