MP: Britain should not stop sending aid to India
An MP on a trip to India has called for British taxpayers to keep supporting people in need in the country.
The Government has announced aid to India will be halted in 2015, but Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth said the decision was wrong.
He flew to India on Sunday as part of a project organised by Save the Children.
Speaking from Delhi yesterday after visits to health and education projects in some of the city's worst slums, Mr Ashworth said: "It has been extraordinary.
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"There's this huge contrast of big Honda showrooms next to slums where people live four to a shanty and children run around next to open sewers. It's heartbreaking to see.
"Our hotel in Delhi is next to a flyover and people living underneath it were on the streets begging.
"There were mothers with children in their arms, holding empty milk bottles up to the windows of our minibus.
"As the father of a 21-month-old child, I found myself getting very emotional. No child should be living like this.
"The Government has to look at its decision over aid funding again because we can't turn our backs on these children."
Mr Ashworth said it was clear tackling poverty in the country of 1.2 billion people was a huge job, but money from the Department for International Development and the work of Save the Children were having an impact.
During the trip, which ends on Saturday, Mr Ashworth will also be visiting Calcutta.
Save the Children said a third of the world's poorest people lived in India. More than 1.5 million Indians die every year before they reach their fifth birthday.
Public opinion in Britain is divided on using taxpayers' cash to help the country, which has a fast-growing economy.
Mr Ashworth said: "This is a country that's booming and you see the pace it's moving at, but at the same time so many young children are dying and others have stunted growth.
"The Indian government should obviously do more but that's a political debate.
"Something has to be done for these children and the help from charities and the Department for International Development is vital.
"We've got to look at what contribution we can make."
Flora Alexander, Government relations adviser at Save the Children, said: "We're really pleased Jon is visiting Save the Children's work in India.
"It's vital MPs see the challenges faced by children in India."