In a Rajya Sabha session, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that India "does not require" UK aid. Adding to that he claimed "It is a peanut in our total development exercises (expenditure)."
While, Foreign Minister Nirupama Rao proposed “not to avail of any further British assistance with effect from 1st April 2011”, because of the “negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by UK’s Department For International Development (DFID)”.
After a memo was leaked, the British ministers are struggling to defend the Indian aid programme as they faced criticism from the public and Conservative MPs, reported in the Daily Mail.
"India spends tens of billions on defence and hundreds of millions a year on a space programme – in those circumstances it would be unacceptable to give them aid even if they were begging us for it."
Given that they don't even want it, it would be even more extraordinary if it were to be allowed to continue," said Tory MP Philip Davies.
"There will be millions of hard-pressed families wondering why on earth the Government is wasting money in this way," Davies said.
"India has its own foreign aid programme so it is absurd for us to be still giving them aid. They are more than capable of looking after their own issues.
As for the 0.7 percent target, it is a vanity project that is being pursued for no good reason at all. I do not understand the Government’s position on this and I don’t think the British public do either," he added.