Despite India’s growing economy and rising geopolitical status, the country still faces a wide range of development challenges stemming from its uneven growth and quickly growing population. Home to 17 percent of the world’s population and largest concentration of poor people, India ranks 136 out of 186 countries in the 2013 Global Human Development Report. More than 700 million people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, and with India’s population on course to reach 2 billion people by 2070, the country faces food, energy and other resource constraints on a grand scale.
However, India is also home to one of the world’s largest groups of millionaires and billionaires and has a large number of highly educated people, offering the largest pool of technically skilled graduates in the world. Given these realities, USAID is transforming its 60-year relationship with India from a traditional donor-recipient relationship to a true partnership where both countries jointly tackle development challenges.
Our deepening partnership leverages a broad range of resources to sustainably advance development in India and other countries around the world. We’re partnering to develop, test and deploy cost-effective innovations that address global challenges in the following priority sectors: heath, food security, climate change and education.
- USAID’s partnership with the Government of India has contributed to a 57 percent reduction in new HIV infections during the last decade.
- With USAID’s help, India reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 99 million tons from 1995 to 2011 through more efficient power generation, leading to a savings of $1.5 billion.
- Thousands of farmers in agriculture-dependent Uttar Pradesh reduced production costs by 37 percent and increased yields by 44 percent through the use of new tools and techniques introduced by USAID.
In line with both U.S. and Indian government health priorities, USAID supports India in eliminating preventable child and maternal deaths in partnership with its growing private sector. We are working with both public and private partners to improve the health of the rural and urban poor — and transfer best practices and innovations for global impact — in the areas of family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and clean water and sanitation.
Agriculture and Food Security
Over the past 50 years, India has moved from food insecurity to becoming a world leader in cereal, milk and fruit production. Despite this progress, much remains to be done. USAID’s agriculture programs address key development challenges in India by harnessing its success in agricultural production through innovations targeting small producers. Since 2010, our programs have helped over 55,000 farmers adopt new technologies to increase their agricultural production through partnerships with non-governmental organizations. Through one such partnership with Digital Green, simple videos starring local farmers were shared with neighboring farming communities via battery-operated projectors to demonstrate improved farming techniques. USAID is also partnering with the Indian private sector to transfer promising agriculture innovations to African countries to improve their agricultural productivity.
Environment and Global Climate Change
Energy is crucial to India’s continued economic growth. However, the energy sector currently accounts for 58 percent of India’s global greenhouse gas emissions. USAID’s activities focus on reducing greenhouse gases through clean energy programs which identify and scale up innovations that support low-emission economic development while meeting India’s growing energy demands. This means reducing carbon emissions by promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and improving forest management. USAID is committed to seeking out and forging new partnerships to identify low-carbon innovations that better protect the environment, such as with Gram Power, a company that has developed a smart grid that provides clean, reliable and affordable electricity to underserved populations in remote areas.
More than 50 percent of fifth-grade children in rural India cannot read at second-grade level, according to the 2012 Annual Status of Education Report. USAID, in partnership with local Indian organizations, has launched a platform that brings together non-profits, corporations, donors and others dedicated to improving early-grade reading skills for the most vulnerable of India’s children. These partners work to identify and scale innovative approaches that strengthen early reading skills.
Last updated: March 17, 2014