Development Cooperation

The EU’s development cooperation with India has a successful track record, spanning several decades. Since the agreement on partnership and development signed in 1994, Government of India has welcomed external assistance from the EU particularly in social sectors, such as Health and Education, in recent years notably in support of the Millennium Development Goals. 

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • State Partnership Programme


Since early 1990 Primary and Elementary Education has been and remains a high priority sector in the collaboration between the EU and the GOI. The EU is supporting India to implement the centrally sponsored scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) through a Sector Policy Support Programme. This national flagship programme aims to attain Universal Elementary Education and to provide Education of quality to all children in the age group of 6-14 years. 

From 2002 to 2013, a total of EUR 270 million have been committed by the EU to support the SSA. A new allocation of EUR 80 million was adopted in 2011 by the European Union to support elementary and secondary education.

Besides contributions to the GoI's SSA programme, the EU also supports education through its State Partnership Programme in Chhattisgarh (with €32 million specifically earmarked) and numerous NGO-led initiatives.


With the signature in December 2008 of a Financing Agreement for the Sector Policy Support Programme National Rural Health Mission- Reproductive Child Health II, the EU and India foster their long standing cooperation in the area. The programme avails of €110 million with the twin objectives to enhance India’s progress in reaching the Millenium Development Goals 4 – reduce child mortality – and 5 – improve maternal health -- through better health service delivery and support the country’s health systems institutional capacity.

Like the previous EU Sector Investment Programme which paved the way for reforms in the health sector, the new programme has a budget support component as well as a technical cooperation window. The health sector programme will focus on human resource capacity, planning and development, monitoring and evaluation systems for evidence-based decision making, planning and management, and pay due attention to gender issues and mainstreaming marginalised groups, including scheduled castes and tribes. With this fresh commitment, the EU contribution to the health sector reaches €350 million at the federal level. In addition to that, not less than €32 million are furthermore dedicated to health in the Chhattisgarh State Partnership Programme, a State where health indicators have recently demonstrated substantial progress and where the system of community health workers, “Ashas” or “Mitanins” as they are well known, was first developed.

The EU’s sectoral support in healthcare was initiated in October 1998 when the Health and Family Welfare Sector Investment Programme (SIP) began implementation for a period of six years. SIP was an integral part of the GoI’s National Family Welfare Programme. Focussing a change management approach, the programme operated at all levels of the system – central, state and district – with an emphasis on decentralisation, community involvement in decision making and capacity development of the health services providers. The European Union committed a total contribution of €240 million for this time bound programme.

State Partnership Programme

The EU has signed State Partnership Programmes for two states in India: Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. In total, the EU will contribute up to €160 million for both states.

The Chhattisgarh partnership programme aims at achieving the following results:

  • Governance and capacities of State Government departments, institutions and local bodies to plan, implement and account for the delivery of critical social services, especially health and education, and forest based livelihoods improved.
  • Access, relevance and quality of school education especially pre-school and elementary education improved focusing on MDGs and underserved areas and groups, policies and strategies for secondary and vocational education strengthened and institutional capacity of the departments, academic institutions and non-state actors enhanced.
  • Access to appropriate quality health services for the community improved, with special focus on the poor and marginalised sections and on programmes and interventions.
  • Poverty of tribal communities reduced through: (1) enhanced capacities of beneficiary groups at all levels, through selected forest-based livelihood interventions that protect the environment; and (2) development of state-wide strategies for environment-friendly economic opportunities for the poorest.

The Rajasthan partnership programme aims at achieving the following two main results:

State-wide water sector reform and improvement

  • Water Sector Policy Action Plan translated into Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) with budget allocations
  • Broad public support for implementation of water sector policy reforms (evidenced by the implementation of the Groundwater Act)
  • Institutional coordination (inter- and intra-sectoral) and devolution for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and implementation of water policy action plan achieved

Enhanced water supply and groundwater recharge in selected areas of Rajasthan

  • Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)/user groups in selected blocks equipped for IWRM.
  • In selected blocks, sustainable IWRM including equitable and improved access/quality of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS)
  • In selected blocks, groundwater situation, coverage and service delivery standards improved.