Funds to promote innovation, peace
India is in discussions with the Commonwealth of Nations over the introduction of new targeted funds to promote innovation and peace within the 54 member-countries. Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland, who was in India on an official visit recently, said that one of the funds could be named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - India's first Home Minister. Many people outside India do not realise what Sardar Patel did for India as a great administrator and implementer of the vision of a united India, said Scotland, on the sidelines of a reception to mark Commonwealth Day in London on 9 March 2020 evening.
- One of the things we are exploring is an opportunity for a Sardar Patel Good Governance Innovation Fund, where India could share some of her wisdom and creativity with the rest of the Commonwealth.
- Highlighting India's role during the World Wars as part of the estimated 1.5 million volunteers from the subcontinent, the Secretary General also referred to the possibility of a dedicated peace fund.
- A Peace Fund because we have never needed peace more. We are now living in a very dangerous and volatile world and we need to honour that peace because the world's peace is very fragile right now.
- Reflecting on her recent India visit, Scotland who heads the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London said she was inspired by the "new technically switched on" India, which as a fast developing country has rapidly invested in its human capital as well as technology and innovation.
- At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in 2018, India had said it would double its contribution to the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC), from GBP 1 million to GBP 2 million.
- The CFTC, used for funding important development projects within Commonwealth member-countries, was in the news recently when its other major contributors - the UK, Australia and New Zealand - decided to withhold their contributions for the 2019-20 financial year amid allegations of mismanagement.
- The Commonwealth Secretariat has denied any irregularities and stressed that it has implemented all the recommendations of an internal audit report.