From the Guardian, writer Madeleine Bunting examines the upcoming debate.
For a group of Conservatives, India is a prime example for their "charity begins and ends at home" approach. When Mitchell came into office, he made great fanfare about cutting aid programmes to China and Russia; allegedly, some in his department wanted to add India to that list but No 10 prevailed. India is still regarded by the UK public as a poor country, despite its recent economic growth and global power.
And the truth is, that perception is absolutely accurate. A third of the world's poor live in India – more than all those designated as poor living in sub-Saharan Africa. Shockingly, half of all Indian children are malnourished. This poverty is concentrated in just four Indian states, which account for one-fifth of the world's poor. So if aid is about relieving poverty, UK aid to India is entirely justified.
Some hopeful observers point to a new determination on the part of India's ruling elite to tackle poverty. Sonia Gandhi recently chaired a two-day seminar with the US economist Joseph Stiglitz on how to provide universal "social policy coverage" – basic services in health and education. It was a point made by Gordon Brown in his book Beyond the Crash, when he wrote about the new statutory rights to food and to primary education.
But there is a long way to go, and the sharp inequalities in India present a stark dilemma for those in charge of aid budgets. As many developing economies grow, more and more of the world's poorest are in middle-income countries. As Sumner has pointed out in his argument on the new bottom billion, 72% of the world's poorest are in middle-income countries.
Increasingly, much of the world's poverty is a result of inequality, rather than the conventional model of countries caught in a poverty trap, and the role of aid in helping to spring the trap. That presents a real challenge to state aid agencies: how do they justify taking their taxpayers' money to send aid to countries where a hugely wealthy elite is benefiting from an economic boom and failing to meet the challenge of distributing wealth? Aren't India's poor their responsibility?