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Thursday, 23 June 2011

UK gives £295m to India – India spends £200m on world’s tallest statue

Britain gives £295m to India – India spends £200m on world’s tallest statue

The folly of Britain’s moronic foreign aid policy has been underlined once again by India’s plan to blow the equivalent of two-thirds of Britain’s foreign aid contribution on a record-breaking ostentatious statue.
Officials in the state of Gujarat in Western India have announced plans to build a towering 'Statue of Unity' memorial to Sardar Patel, India's first home minister and deputy prime minister, who is regarded in the country as a hero of the independence movement.
Many statues to him already stand in India.
The statue will cost more than £200 million, money which critics say could be used to help the 3.6 million people in the state living below India’s poverty line.
The 'Statue of Unity' monument will be 597 feet high and will dwarf the world's current tallest statue, the 420-foot Spring Temple Buddha, which, ironically, stands in another of Britain’s foreign aid beneficiaries, China.
The statue will also feature a ‘high-tech museum, chronicling 90 years' history of India's freedom fighters’ and will be developed as a research centre for ‘preserving the unity and integrity of India’.
It will only be accessible by boat and will have lifts to take visitors to the top for a panoramic view from Patel's eye. It will be four times the height of the Statue of Liberty and six times that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Vijay Parmar, of the charity Janvikas (Working for the Poor), said the statue is a political stunt that will bring no benefit to the public:
‘This money could be spent on health, education, or housing. Large numbers of urban poor people are living on roads. Government-run primary schools are in a pathetic condition. The money could have at least helped improve the educational standards of poor children in Gujarat,’ he said.
Earlier this month an Indian government report revealed that at least £400 million of British foreign aid given to India to help its education system has had no effect and that standards across the country are falling.
India is currently the United Kingdom’s chief recipient of foreign aid, raking in £295 million a year from hapless British taxpayers, despite having its own space and nuclear programmes and even its own foreign aid initiative. India also receives $126.6 a year from the United States.
Last year it was estimated that India has been the world's biggest beneficiary of all foreign aid after World War II, receiving approximately $100 billion from various countries since 1951.
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