Cameron Sprints to Aid BMEC Corridor.

*Following Britain’s decision to stop aid to India, the two countries may not share funding for a feasibility study on the Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC) project*.
*It asked the MEA to remove the line “both governments agreed to co-fund a feasibility study for this project and to work together to develop and deliver it” in paragraph 9 of the joint statement and replace it with “and agreed that this (BMEC) should be further examined at the official level by both sides”*.
*The Department of Economic Affairs contended that as the UK had discontinued financial aid to India for new projects under the government sector, “there was no value addition in getting a feasibility study conducted by the UK as it would not be followed up by financial assistance*.
*The objection, approved by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was also sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion*.
This is what Indian Express reported in its print edition of Monday: ^^Ahead of Cameron visit, BMEC ‘co-funding’ out of statement^^. The position of the Department of Economic Affairs [DEA] was correct because if Britain was not willing to fund the feasibility study, then why should study be conducted by her. But the party which conducts the feasibility study would have a free-hand to tailor it to suit its needs and serve its objectives. Somebody in the British Prime Minister’s delegation must have got the wind of this Indian government thinking. Horrified by the implications, David Cameron was called upon to step in to prevent the likely damage. He did it with a “panache”. As he arrived in Mumbai on Monday on the first leg of his visit, Reuters reported, ^^David Cameron pushes Mumbai-Bangalore corridor^^. 

*British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he wanted his country’s companies to help India develop new cities and districts along a 1,000 km (600 mile) corridor between Mumbai and Bangalore, generating investment projects worth up to $25 billion….he wanted British firms to work with the Indian and British governments to develop nine districts to link Mumbai, India’s financial capital, with Bangalore, its tech hub*.
*The British government would be willing to co-fund a feasibility study, on a match funding basis, with the Indian government costing up to 1 million pounds*.
*With me I’ve got architects, planners and finance experts who can work out the complete solution, It would unleash India’s potential along the 1,000 km from Mumbai to Bangalore, transforming lives and putting British businesses in prime position to secure valuable commercial deals*.
*India should open up its markets to allow foreign direct investment in hitherto closed sectors*.
*By 2030, if realised, the project could generate close to half a million jobs, while indirect jobs could bring the total in the region to two million, Cameron’s office said*.
No one would be stupid to forego prospective business worth US$ 25 Billion, for a measly sum of GBP 1 million or US$ 1.55 million. The projected 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs created with US$ 25 billion investment translates to every $ 10,000/- creating 1 job. The news doesn’t speak of what annual revenue generation is expected from this ambitious project. Cameron also offered the carrot of single day grant of visa to Indian businessmen. In November 2012, Britain’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening had announced that Britain would cancel the £280 million a year aid programme to India from 2015 while cutting around £200 million off the budget before 2015 in recognition of the subcontinent’s “changing place in the world”. After 2015, the UK will instead focus on “technical cooperation” and private sector investment to assist some of the poorest parts of India. Since the current focus is on Mumbai-Bangalore corridor, one needs to know how Britain defines “Poorest parts of India”. British government was criticised for its “aid” to a country that grew at 8% per annum and spent massive amount on defence, while it was abolishing or trimming many welfare program at home. The argument was charity should begin at home. What the critics never understood was, what looks like”charity” is actually a trojan to influence policies and programmes in the recipient country to suit business interests- that is public money spent for private good. Of course, Cameron can always argue that Indian growth has tumbled to lows of 5% and even threatening to sink further, and therefore, now in need of British ministrations. 
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