India opens up its aid tap

While the Indian aid apparatus is still forming and no central agency has been established, we have been able to collect some very basic project level statistics from outcome budgets.

September 21, 2010

Jonathan Chan

Last week, Laura Freschi had a great post over on AidWatch on the Indian response to the withdrawal of British aid, where she mentioned the rise of India as a donor in its own right. This issue has gotten other attention recently, from both the Wall Street Journal and Canada's International Development Research Centre. Here at AidData, we've been working hard over the last few months to track down project level information on Indian aid. As Laura pointed out, the Indian aid apparatus is still forming, and no central agency has been established. However, we have been able to collect some very basic project level statistics from outcome budgets published by the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Finance. These documents give brief descriptions of EXIM loans, technical assistance, and direct grants to developing countries. Most of the data bears out what others have reported, that India is primarily focused on its neighbors, including Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Nepal, but also highlights less-intuitive recipients like Ghana and Sudan.

The sectoral breakdown (made possible by our incredible staff of RAs) shows that India has primarily focused on power. transportation, and industry. However, we suspect that many of the projects that we left coded as multi-sector due to the brevity of the descriptions encompass smaller-scale education, health, and social projects.

We're actively pursuing better data from the relevant offices and departments in the Indian government that will allow us to calculate the grant element of loans, provide more detailed purpose codes, and possibly run pilots in geocoding and crowdsourcing. Obviously, any help that any of you users could give us here would be most welcome.

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