ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Limits of Aid

THE government's response to the outcome of this year's meeting of the Aid India Consortium in Paris has been very different from that to last year's. There was jubilation last year that the consortium meeting had yielded total aid commitments of $ 6.3 billion, a handsome $ 900 million larger than the previous year's commitments. The government had then flaunted the stepped up offer of aid as proof of the success of its aid diplomacy. This year there is not as much to celebrate. The aid pledged by the members of the consortium is $ 6.7 billion, a mere $ 400 million larger than last year's total. Asked if he was happy with the outcome of the meeting, India's finance secretary would only say, "I wouldn't say I am dissatisfied". His references to "the prevailing climate of aid" and unspecified "other factors" sounded very much like afterthoughts. Actually there was no reason why the government should have been taken by surprise by the outcome of the consortium meeting. Every year, the World Bank as the leader of the consortium recommends a figure of total aid commitment to the members of the group after prior consultations with them and the figure recommended this year was $ 6.7 billion.

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