§ 2. Mr. William Price
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what aid the Government will give to the State of Bihar.
§ The Minister of Overseas Development (Mr. Arthur Bottomley)
British aid is not given to individual Indian States. 718 But because of India's special difficulties, particularly the need for foreign exchange to import food, we have offered to relieve India of debt payments of £11.5 million currently due to us. We are urging other countries to follow our example by untying aid in this way.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Yes, but we are not a food-exporting nation and, therefore, the aid that we give in the form of industrial equipment and such things, by saving the Indians from spending foreign exchange in other ways, helps to provide food for the Indians.
§ Mr. Tilney
Has not the water-table in Bihar fallen by about 30 ft.? Has not the whole situation in Bihar been greatly aggravated by the closure of the Suez Canal?