Statue

Britain Gave £1bn In Aid To India As Country Built Giant Expensive Statue

Officials figures have revealed that Britain donated over £1 billion to India during the time the country was splashing a whopping £330 million to build a colossal statue, the Daily Mail reports.

Britain Gave £1bn In Aid To India As Country Built Giant Expensive Statue

The giant bronze statue, known as the Statue of Unity, is almost twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York, making it the tallest in the world. It resembles Sardar Patel, who is known as one of the heroes of India's independence movement.

 

Having had its grand unveiling on Wednesday, it has reportedly already been condemned as an expensive vanity project.

It took 3,500 workers four years to construct the statue, which stands on a bend of the Narmada river in Gujarat, the home state of India's prime minister Narendra Modi. Tribal chiefs also say that the project involved a land-grab that affected 72 nearby villages, which forced thousands out of their homes.

Credit: PA

While construction was underway, the UK gave India a total of £1.17bn in foreign aid. The British money was spent on projects that ranged from improving women's rights through to funding solar panels and investment in low-carbon transport options.

In 2014, £14,000 of the money was also spend in Gujarat, where the statue is, when the statue's foundations were being laid as a means of increasing 'religious tolerance among young people'.

 

Tory MP Peter Bone said: "To take £1.1 billion in aid from us and then at the same time spend £330 million on a statue is a total nonsense and it is the sort of thing that drives people mad.

"What it proves is that we should not be giving money to India. It is up to them how they spend their money but if they can afford this statue, then it is clearly a country we should not need to be giving aid to."

Credit: PA

In 2012, Britain's aid minister at the time, Andrew Mitchell, announced that the main aid programme to India would come to an end in 2015, but money has continued to go to projects in the country since then.

The Department for International Development has said it ended 'traditional aid' to India in 2015, but it is still funding projects that can help climate change or boost the country's economy.

A spokesman added: "The UK now provides world-leading expertise and private investment - while generating a return for the UK - to boost prosperity, create jobs and open up markets, which is firmly in our interests."