Ministers are under pressure from Conservative MPs to trim the 11-billion-pound aid budget and UK international development minister Justine Greening had announced in 2012 that the Department for International Development (DfID) would end direct aid to India and South Africa in 2015.

The House of Commons' International Development Committee (IDC) said it was concerned the decision was "neither methodical nor transparent".

"We do not dispute that the bilateral aid review was a robust process but the secretary has not convinced us that the announcements to end bilateral programmes in India and South Africa were in accordance with the principles and process established by the bilateral aid review (BAR)," a report by the IDC said on Tuesday.

"They were made just 18 months and two years respectively after the publication of the BAR country summaries and appear ad hoc," the report said.

"We reiterate our recent recommendation: decisions to end a bilateral aid programme or to start a new one should be made only following a bilateral aid review, except in exceptional cases such as South Sudan," it said.

Giving evidence to the cross-party committee last year, Greening said the government's processes were "robust" and underpinned by a "common approach".

The UK, meanwhile, has increased its support for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia among others.

DfID plans to increase bilateral aid to Pakistan to 446 million pounds in 2014-15 from 267 million pounds in 2012-13, but the IDC had said in a report last year that aid should only be increased if the Pakistani government made greater efforts to increase tax revenues.

A DfID spokesperson said, "The decisions to close our aid programmes in South Africa and India are right and the committee agrees with this."

"These decisions clearly follow on from the government's own aid review published in 2011 which identified both countries as on the path to transition. As countries successfully develop DfID will continue to ensure that our aid remains targeted on the poorest countries where support is most needed."


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