End of UK aid to India divides opinion | World news | guardian.co.uk Some Indians welcome the end of British aid for India on grounds of national pride. In a Times of India article countering a pro-aid editorial, Meghna Roy set out the nationalist case: "There's something deeply condescending about receiving aid from a foreign country, especially one that has ruled you for 200 years. Self-respecting nationalists should welcome the UK's decision to stop aid to India in 2015." Playing down Britain's decision, India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, a former finance minister, described the Â£280m annual aid programme as "peanuts" totalling less than 0.03% of India's national income. Since 2007 India has been the world's largest recipient of recorded remittances from abroad. In 2010 these inflows were worth $54bn. UK foreign direct investment in India is considerable, reaching Â£1.8bn in the same year. With that kind of money flowing India's way, opponents of aid to India question why Britain, undergoing its own belt-tightening, should send money to a country that has enjoyed high economic growth and that has its own aid and space programmes. Yet the "India shining" image co-exists with massive poverty. India is home to a third of the world's people living on less than $1.25 a day â€“ more than all the poor in sub-Saharan Africa. India's poverty rate, although falling, was 37% in 2008, the most recent year for which figures were available. Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy at the Centre for Global Development, a US-based thinktank, acknowledged that British aid for India was small in absolute terms, but said it could still make a big difference especially in India's poorest states. "If in the poorest states most of the budget goes on pensions or salaries of civil servants, a donor's small amount of money for health or education can make a large difference," she said. "It is worthwhile investing in vaccinations to prevent the spread of infectious diseases," she added. "Only 44% of children under five are fully vaccinated. Aid money could be used to leverage higher vaccination rates." Remittances go to the states of origin of British Indians, mainly Punjab and Gujarat rather than the poorest states. Investment tends to be concentrated in big urban areas such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. In a recent paper, the Institute for Public Policy Research criticised the decision to end aid to India as a move to placate disgruntled Tories who think Britain's aid budget should not be protected from austerity cuts. "Given the outstanding development challenges facing India, the UK government's decision to end aid in 2015 looks both premature and politically motivated," the thinktank said. "Any arbitrary reduction or sudden stop in official development assistance which would jeopardise much of the hard work already undertaken should be rejected." In justifying her decision in November, Justine Greening, the international development secretary, said the growing two-way trade and investment between the UK and India meant "our development partnership should increasingly be about trade not aid". Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru university, New Delhi, has said India would be better off without British aid. "Minute dribbles of UK aid cannot hope to work PR magic in India, when the UK government is seen trying to bully the Indian government into accepting completely unjustifiable intellectual property clauses that will increase essential drug prices in a trade agreement, or pushing the interests of its own companies in getting extra protection and compensation in the face of laws that protect Indian citizens who are adversely affected by the investments, or indulging in protectionist practices against Indian exports."