Aid and Indian Billionaires

John Rentoul

jk rowling 7 15 10 2 293x300 Aid and Indian BillionairesI would have thought that the case against the UK taxpayer funding development aid to India was open and shut (although the Guardian inevitably tries to keep it ajar), but have been intrigued by repeated references to India having “three times as many billionaires” as Britain.

I traced it to this report in the Daily Mail a fortnight ago, which said that India had 69 dollar billionaires to Britain’s 29. Now, arithmetic and sourcing are two of the Mail’s weaknesses. That is (Programs/Accessories/Calculator) 2.4 times as many.

But from where do these figures come? Perhaps the Mail had access to the Forbes 2011 list of billionaires, to be published presently, although it has not reported this scoop. So it would seem that the 2010 list is the only available source of remotely credible collated data.

And what does it say (scroll down to “Sort List By”)? If we sort the list by citizenship, India had 49 dollar billionaires, and the UK 29. India therefore has 1.7 times as many.

If we sort by residence, India had 47 and the UK 42.* So India has 1.1 times as many.

Glad to have sorted that out.

*Forbes has a curious policy towards JK Rowling (above). She is listed as worth $1bn, which is surely doubtful in itself, but her country of residence is listed as Scotland rather than the United Kingdom. I have added her to the UK total pending further instructions from Alex Salmond.

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  • Richard_SM

    DfID Bi-lateral aid 2006/07. Amounts in £millions.

    India 234
    Tanzania 112
    Sudan 110
    Pakistan 101

    Afghanistan 99
    Ethiopia 90
    Nigeria 82
    Uganda 78
    Congo, Dem Rep 75

    Ghana 69
    Kenya 65
    Malawi 63
    Zambia 61
    Indonesia 61

    Mozambique 56
    Vietnam 52
    Iraq 50
    Nepal 43
    China 39

    It seems hard to justify giving aid to nuclear powers, but without knowing where the aid is directed and what conditions are attached, it’s difficult to comment further. I looked on the DfID website for details of the aid to India. Unless you’ve got an afternoon to spare, the information is difficult to extract, and seems to be linked to other funding partners across many projects in varying degrees of completion..

    Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan II (Universal Elementary Education)
    Improve the quality of elementary education for all children.
    Project Start Date: 01/03/2008
    Project End Date: 31/03/2013

  • Niels Georg Bach Christensen

    If the indian middle and upper class feel well with their country’s low level of education and
    millions of poor, and the minimal taxes they pay, it’s their problem.

  • motie

    Why is the UK giving aid to India and China? India and China should be giving aid to the UK ! Why give aid to rampant kleptocracies like Afghanistan and Nigeria?

  • Richard_SM

    “Why is the UK giving aid to India and China?”

    I don’t know, which is why I wrote: “It seems hard to justify giving aid to nuclear powers…”

  • srcgreen01

    I think the aid is a hangover from the days when kindly lords helped the poor to gain social capital for themselves. It’s so paltry that India can live without it, and I think the only reason it exists is because the Indian government doesn’t really care if that is how the British donor can feel good about himself or herself. Stop it by all means. I doubt it makes much difference.

  • The Daily Satire

    Any which way they have more. It seems arrogant to me to think its our business to deal with poverty in India, or that there is anything significant we can do about it.

  • Guest

    they give aid to nuclear powers, so those powers will spend the aid buying weaposn from corporations in America. Those corporations, in turn, control the media which decides who gets elected.

  • daffodil20

    Anybody who has worked in the aid business knows that aid is a business. Aid is actually a misnomer because it comes tied with a lot of strings – ie you take Britain’s money, you have to buy British goods and services with it, so the money anyway comes back to Britain. Aid offers a very good return in investment, that’s the only reason countries do it. If some good happens, that’s by the by.

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