India’s Economy, the Tory Government, and Why We Need to Keep Giving

      By 2015 the UK is planning to end all financial aid to India. As the BBC reports,

“Support worth about £200m ($319m) will be phased out between now and 2015 and the UK’s focus will then shift to offering technical assistance. [International Development Secretary Justine] Greening said the move, which will be popular with Tory MPs, reflected India’s economic progress and status.”

The main problem here is that we’re forgetting what’s really going on in India. Putting the economy aside, I think the Tories are only listening to what they want to hear. As with their own country, they’re choosing actions that will benefit the rich and cause the poor to suffer. It’s not even just on our side; Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid said: “Aid is the past and trade is the future.” I didn’t think that in a country like India, one that has struggled with such severe poverty, that is still covered in slums like the one pictured above, that their government would be so oblivious to the need for aid. Maybe this aid isn’t needed for the country’s economy, but it is needed for their people as a whole, who, as Obama said about the United States on Wednesday night, “Are greater than the sum of [their] individual ambitions.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the USA and India are two entirely different countries, but surely every government should understand that it’s the people as a whole who make up the nation, not the rich?

Charities have described Cameron and Khurshid’s decision as “premature”, something that I would agree with. Maybe in regards to the economy it is, but if these men who go to work in business suits and have more than enough money for themselves would consider those who have nothing, they might make different decision. Maybe some of you will think I’m being idealistic but surely we could give this money to the poor, who will continue to suffer regardless of how well the Indian economy does?

In the comments section of the BBC article one person posted this:

“Can’t believe the people on here saying that we should still give aid to India. Maybe they do have poverty – well let them sort that out. Like many people, I work in a company that is laying off hundreds of staff and outsourcing to India. Their economy is growing. We need to look after our own people first, i.e. the ones out of work due to Indian off-shoring!”

Off-shoring is the view of the corporations: more employees less money. That’s the corporate attitude that is causing people in the UK to lose out; it benefits the economy but harms those of us who need a job. This aid is nothing to do with off-shoring, it’s to do with the British government not wanting to share like a spoilt child. Off-shoring, plus removing aid from India, means we keep all the money. If this man could see it that way then maybe he would understand the sheer greed of the Tories. They want to help as few people as possible and being able to say, “Their economy is doing fine so we can remove the aid” probably makes them feel okay about it. But this is the general attitude of the human race though, isn’t it? “Every man for himself”, and all that jazz. We are so afraid to share what we have, to love others, to help out the poor and the needy. This attitude coming from the UK, the eighth richest country in the world with a GDP of $2,290,000,000,000, who could definitely afford to help India, is entirely unnecessary.

The news media may show few images of India’s slums, choosing to focus on the big offices and money-filled areas of Indian cities, but truth is never found in glamour and make-up. Truth is found in the people who fight just to stay alive, who do everything they can to look after their families, who have to work so hard to chase their dreams, and, in comparison to the dreams of the wealthy and (in societies eyes) “successful”, these dreams look so small. Maybe some of you will think I’m naive but I think if more people respected this way of life more than the lives of people who do so little work for their money then maybe our governments, all across the world, would realise what their people actually needed.

You can find the original BBC report right here.
Photo courtesy of LSE.

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