India and Pakistan

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th April 1983.

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Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury 12:00 am, 25th April 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the current aid programmes to India and Pakistan.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

We are continuing to support substantial aid programmes in both countries. Provisional amounts provided in the financial year 1982–83 were £105 million for India and 13·7 million for Pakistan, all on grant terms, without interest or repayment. In India we support a wide variety of projects, ranging from power stations and fertiliser plants to local cost projects in housing and health, aimed at the poorest people. In Pakistan we are now concentrating on the poorest provinces of Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier bordering Afghanistan, and we are also assisting relief to Afghan refugees.

Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury

I welcome the Minister's reply, which was most interesting and informative. Will he say whether the Government have any proposals to extend this help to rural communities by way of assistance to agriculture and irrigation and also to deal with malaria problems in the territories concerned?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

We regard both health and agricultural development matters as of great importance. Our aid programme contributes substantially to both.

Photo of Mr John Stokes Mr John Stokes , Halesowen and Stourbridge

Can my right hon. Friend say how much of the aid granted by British taxpayers to India was used in the making of the film "Gandhi"?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I am not aware that any money from the aid programme went towards the making of the film "Gandhi", but, if I am wrong, I shall write to my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Guy Barnett Mr Guy Barnett , Greenwich

Bearing in mind the figures given by the Minister earlier for aid to the Falkland Islands and aid to India, does he think that he might perhaps publish the amount of aid per person in India as against the amount per person in the Falkland Islands and also take into account the amount of aid per person in terms of the average standard of living in each country?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I am quite prepared to accept that the amount of aid per person in the Falkland Islands is substantially higher than the amount of aid per person in India. The Falkland Islands are a direct dependency of ours. Under the United Nations Charter we have a special responsibility towards them. It is a responsibility which, with very few exceptions, the whole country endorses.