ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: What Price Foreign Aid?

Weekly Note from Volume XI, No 12, March 21, 1959.

What are India’s commitments in the matter of internal policies and character of planning which have evoked such ready response from her creditors and this group of helpers? True there has been no specific undertaking given or anything of that sort. The communiqué merely mentions: “It was understood by the meeting that the Government of India would continue to pursue the economic and financial policies which had been discussed at the August meeting.” What are these financial policies? That the policy has to be responsible, goes as mentioned earlier, without saying. Which Government in the world would ever say that it would pursue an irresponsible fiscal policy? Does monetary stability which is also mentioned mean ‘no deficit financing?’

The fact is, and we better face it, that foreign aid has exerted pressures on us and has influenced our domestic policies, in spite of what Pandit Nehru may say. True, Pandit Nehru may not be aware of it, but it is no secret that those who are in charge of aid negotiations abroad often give quite a distressing interpretation of our domestic policies to create a favourable climate to ask for more aid. Why we insist on planning and why we want an expanding public sector, such inconvenient questions are either brushed aside or dismissed as concessions to politics. ‘We, too, have our politicians’, that sort of thing goes down very well with Americans. Double talk seems to be justified, if it gets us the dollars.

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