Really? Indian research projects get £100m from the UK – Dehli announces rocket to Venus

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Although the UK does not technically send aid to India, in 2018 the Government announced plans to provide £98million to invest in technical enterprises over the next two years. Despite India being on course to become one of the third largest economies by 2030, the UK sent the money to help stimulate jobs in India. While underfunded research initiatives received the funding, the Indian government has announced the launch of the Shukrayaan orbiter.

The rocket will be the first launched by the Government’s India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in late 2024.

The ISRO will launch the rocket later than expected and will study the planet for four years, according to Space News.

Space news stated earlier this month: “ISRO was aiming for a mid-2023 launch when it released its call for instruments in 2018, but pandemic-related delays have pushed Shukrayaan’s target launch date to December 2024.”

Just three spacecraft have orbited Venus in the last 30 years although NASA has selected two separate missions earlier this year to be considered for launch in 2025 and 2028.

The European Space Agency is considering a Venus orbiter mission and could launch by the 2030s.

While not officially classed as aid, the funding for India was also sent to help create jobs for poorer areas of the country.

It comes as the UK Government has come under scrutiny for the decision to reduce the aid budget target from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of national income.

The decision was made by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, as part of his Spending Review.

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He made the move due to the economic ramifications from the coronavirus pandemic on the UK.

Despite cutting the figure, the UK will still spend more than £10billion next year to help fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.

UK Aid Direct works on behalf of the Government and is funded by the Commonwealth & Development Office.

Most of the funding is centred around certain states in Africa and Asia which are considered among the 50 lowest countries in the Human Development Index.

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Amid the cut to the percentage of foreign aid, backbench MPs have insisted the move hinders the UK’s reputation ahead of the G7 and UN climate change conference next year.

Former chief whip and MP for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell said: “With Joe Biden in the White House, this is a dismal start to the British chairmanship of the G7, and UN climate change conference.

“The 0.7 percent was not just one commitment, it was a commitment to the poor made by every single member of the Commons at the last election, apart from the DUP.

“This is about Britain’s leadership role in the world.”

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab: “Given that we cannot at this moment predict with certainty when the current fiscal circumstances will have sufficiently improved, and our need to plan accordingly, we will bring forward legislation in due course.

“The existing legislation that we have for the aid target specifically allows for the fact it may not be possible in certain circumstances to meet the aid target and that is contained in the existing legislation as it is.”

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