The EU is a long-standing and trusted partner in India's economic and social development. The € 470 million envelope for the periods 2007-2013 contributes to the modernization of the Indian economy, making its development inclusive and environment-friendly.

The EU directly supports social sectors by contributing to some major national programmes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to which it has provided € 270 million and the National Rural Health mission, to which it has committed € 110 million.

The EU partners with India at the state level through State Partner Programmes in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, for which the EU has committed € 80 million in each state. In Rajasthan, a state where water is increasingly scarce resources, the programme focuses on the state water sector reforms. In Chhattisgarh, the comprehensive programme targets several core areas such as education, health and the improvement of livelihoods through forestry management.

The EU also cooperates with India in support of the EU-India Joint Action Plan, in the areas of trade, environment, higher education, and culture. Technical assistance programmes managed jointly by the EU and India aim to share knowledge and best practices in a wide range of topics from competition, food safety and air transport safety to clean energy and waste management.

Academic cooperation is high on the agenda of the EU-India Cooperation as one of the primary tools for promoting cultural understanding and improving relations between the two.  A total of 2504 Indian students have received Erasmus Mundus scholarships since 2004. The creation of EU Study Centers in India and Indian Study Centers in European universities has extended these academic exchanges.

The EU cooperates actively with non-governmental or civil society organizations which are often able to reach out to the most inaccessible areas and disadvantaged communities. The EU implements small grant programmes in the education, health and environment sectors whose objectives are the advocacy of innovative solutions to the provision of basic services or their delivery to those in greatest distress. More than 100 such projects represent around € 150 million.

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