Over the past two decades, India has grown to become the world’s largest democracy and one of the world’s leading economies, lifting millions out of poverty. Yet one-third of its population still lives on less than $1.25 per day. Projected to become the world’s most populous country by 2030, India faces tremendous energy, education, health, water and sanitation challenges. India is an important U.S. partner in maintaining regional stability, deepening trade ties and addressing development challenges in India and globally.
Leveraging India’s growing financial and human resources, the U.S.-India partnership is harnessing the strengths and capabilities of both countries to tackle development challenges not only in India, but worldwide. This approach to development is built on leveraging the expertise, innovations and resources of the United States and India to tackle the most pressing challenges of our day, from infectious diseases to food security and climate change.
Despite India’s growing economy and rising geopolitical status, the country continues to face a wide range of development challenges. For example, home to the world’s largest concentration of poor people, India accounts for 40 percent of the world’s malnourished children and the greatest number of preventable child deaths. Some 400 million people — more than the entire U.S. population — are not connected to the electrical grid, and 60 percent lack access to adequate sanitation.
USAID partners with India to address these and other challenges through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future, Global Health and Global Climate Change initiatives. Across our work, we jointly champion innovation and entrepreneurship to benefit vulnerable populations. We build private sector partnerships to foster in-country sustainability and ownership, with a focus on issues such as health, urban water and sanitation, food security, climate change, early grade reading, and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue. For example, both countries are supporting the Millennium Alliance initiative, which brings together public and private partners to leverage Indian creativity, expertise and resources to create and scale innovative solutions to key development challenges that affect marginalized populations across India and the world. In the last two years, the Alliance has leveraged over $125 million in financial and in-kind contributions through partnerships with leading Indian and multinational corporations, foundations and donors.
- USAID played a role in eradicating polio in India, which was certified as polio-free in March 2014 by the World Health Organization after reporting half the global polio cases until 2009.
- USAID launched the "green building" movement in India — catalyzing over 1.2 billion square feet of LEED-certified green building space.
- Thousands of farmers reduced production costs by over one-third and increased yields by nearly 50 percent through the use of new tools and techniques introduced by USAID.
In line with U.S. and Indian government health priorities, USAID supports eliminating preventable child and maternal deaths and in creating an AIDS- and tuberculosis-free generation in partnership with both the Indian government and a growing number of private sector actors. For example, India accounts for 26 percent of global tuberculosis cases and one of the highest burdens of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world. USAID introduced GeneXpert rapid diagnostic testing machines across the country. After USAID’s initial investment of 18 machines demonstrated success, the Government of India purchased more than 200 that are being used throughout the country to combat the spread of the fatal disease.
Agriculture and Food Security
Under Feed the Future, USAID is engaging a wide variety of public and private sector partners from India, Africa and the United States to accelerate the sharing and transfer of Indian agricultural innovations that enhance food security throughout Africa and Asia. Innovations supported through USAID partnerships with Indian organizations include a low-cost tractor, an organic growth stimulant made out of seaweed and a solar dehydrator — all devised to increase yields and incomes by mechanizing their operations, fertilizing depleted soils and preventing post-harvest losses.
Environment, global climate change, water and sanitation
USAID is supporting India in accelerating its transition to a low emission and energy secure economy through clean energy partnerships. The Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) program has mobilized roughly $2.38 billion in public and private sector resources for projects such as “net zero” energy buildings, smart grids and more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in India. USAID is working with local stakeholders to reduce emissions and enhance carbon sequestration through India’s forests while enhancing forest-dependent livelihoods. USAID also works with the Government of India, Indian companies and development partners to increase access to clean water and sanitation in India’s growing and stressed urban centers. USAID’s Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Alliance, which includes a new knowledge partnership with India’s Ministry of Urban Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will help leverage private and civil society innovation, expertise and technology to support India's 500 Cities National Urban Development Mission and Clean India Campaign.
Education and Gender Equality
Under the Read – Engage – Achieve – Dream Alliance (READ Alliance), USAID supports multiple projects that employ innovative approaches to strengthen the reading skills of low-income, primary school-age children. Each initiative is implemented by an Indian organization and leverages significant private sector resources. USAID addresses gender-based violence by educating communities on women’s legal rights, building capacity of health care providers and strengthening the capacity of civil society to advocate for more gender-responsive policies.
Last updated: January 12, 2015