HC Deb 13 April 1965 vol 710 cc1131-2
1. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she discussed the question of further help in the agricultural field when she visited India recently; and what action will follow such discussions.

The Minister of Overseas Development (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

Yes, Sir, I discussed in some detail with the Indian authorities the ways in which our technical assistance and capital aid might be most usefully employed to help in the development of Indian agriculture. I was told of the plans being made by the Indian Government to increase agricul- tural production and explained that we were anxious to integrate our own forward planning of assistance to fit in with their plans. We are now following up these discussions so as to lead to agreement on specific assistance projects.

Mr. Shepherd

When discussing these matters overseas, will the right hon. Lady bear in mind that the form of aid which we want to be given to these people is aid which will enable them to help themselves more, since the time may well come when we shall not be able to afford the amount of money which we are now giving to overseas aid?

Mrs. Castle

Yes, Sir. That is the purpose of all our aid.

Mr. Peter Mills

Will the right hon. Lady bear in mind the important work which various missionary societies are doing in this respect, particularly their agricultural work, and can she say whether there is any co-operation between her Ministry and these missionary societies?

Mrs. Castle

The aid which we give is on a Government-to-Government basis and we therefore merely meet requests put to us by the Indian Government. The responsibility for integrating all the work in the aid programme at the receiving end is with the Indian Government.