International aid is an acceptable form of helping resource challenged nations. Comment on Ethics in Contemporary International aid. Support Your answer with suitable examples. (2023/150 Words)

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The Role and Ethics of International Aid in Resource Challenged Nations: An Indian Perspective

International aid has emerged as a significant tool in the globalised world to help resource-challenged nations. This concept entails providing financial, technical, or other assistance to countries dealing with social, economic, or political challenges. While the motives and effectiveness of international aid have been subjects of critique, it is undeniably a vital avenue for supporting vulnerable nations.

One prominent example of the necessity of international aid is seen in the Indian context, where the nation has been a recipient of international aid throughout its history since gaining independence. Numerous sectors in India, from agriculture to education and health, have thrived with international help.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, when India was facing severe food shortages and famine-like conditions, the international community, namely the United States, offered aid in the form of food grains under the PL480 scheme. This intervention not only provided immediate relief but also marked the initiation of India’s Green Revolution. Similarly, in the sphere of public health, funding from international donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank played a crucial role in the drive against polio.

However, while acknowledging the benefits of international aid, one cannot overlook the ethical implications. It’s essential to remember that aid should be more than a mere transfer of resources. It should aim at fostering sustainable development, promoting self-reliance, respecting sovereignty, and upholding human rights.

The unconditional intrusion of donor countries or organisations into the domestic policies of aid-receiving countries often triggers debates about the violation of national sovereignty. Such concerns were raised when India decided to accept foreign aid for Kerala flood relief in 2018 from the United Arab Emirates after years of maintaining a self-reliant stance towards accepting foreign aid.

Another ethical predicament that often arises in international aid is the conditionality attached to the aid, forcing recipient countries to comply with the policies set out by the donor countries or agencies. An infamous example is the structural adjustment programmes imposed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that often necessitate significant economic changes in the recipient countries.

In India’s context, the country, as a recipient and donor of international aid, needs to uphold the principles of ethics in contemporary aid. The country’s stance should focus on utilising aid effectively, promoting transparency, and prioritising the welfare of its citizens above else.

Suppose India is on the sending end of aid, i.e., providing aid to other nations. In that case, it should honour principles of national sovereignty and non-interference, ensuring that the aid provided facilitates lasting development and capacity-building in the recipient countries. A fitting example is India’s foreign aid policy, which promotes respect for sovereignty, national ownership, and partnership, attentiveness towards the target country’s developmental needs and priorities, and trust in their systems.

In conclusion, while international aid can be seen as a much-needed measure to fill the resource gaps and aid development in challenged nations, its dispensation and acceptance need to be guided by strict ethical considerations. By ensuring transparency, equality, respect for sovereignty, and effective utilisation, international aid can be structured to meet the developmental goals of countries and contribute effectively to the global goal of sustainable development.

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