The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, ITEC for short, is the leading capacity building platform of the Ministry Of External Affairs, Government of India. Instituted in 1964, ITEC is one of the oldest institutionalized arrangements for international capacity building having trained more than 200,000 officials from 160+ countries in both the civilian and in the defence sector.
Building on India’s vast and rich network of governance- and development-related expertise available in higher educational institutions and training facilities, ITEC offers nearly 10,000 fully-funded in-person training opportunities through nearly 400 courses offered at 100+ eminent institutes in India each year.
Even during the disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITEC programme continued with its commitment to share India’s development experience with the world, providing online healthcare and governance-related training to nearly 10,000 professionals through digital platforms.
Apart from our regular calendar-based training programmes, India also responds to country-specific requests for training in specific areas of governance by organizing customised training programmes that are designed and delivered by the leading institutions in India.
Today, ITEC utilises a bouquet of varied modalities to meet its mandate of capacity building. The major sectors under which ITEC operates can be categorized as follows:
1. Capacity Building
The ITEC programme helps in capacity building by (i) offering technical training slots to its personnel in a large network of vocational and human resource development institutions across India; (ii) deputation of Indian experts to developing countries to train local personnel, impart specialised skills and know-how in different fields. In addition, (iii) the ITEC programme facilitates study visits to India by senior political leaders and decision-makers to acquaint them with the opportunities India offers in enhancing developing cooperation with their nations.
2. Project Assistance
ITEC also extends project assistance to developing countries, in particular, in the small and medium industry sectors. These may include agricultural processing, manufacture of agricultural tools, carpentry, plastic moulding, and brick-making, among others. Typically, the ITEC Division assists with project identification, the drawing up of a feasibility report, project implementation and the training of local personnel to eventually manage and run the project on their own. It may be noted that India’s project assistance is not loaded with administrative expenses to be borne by the recipient, a common practice in OECD aid.
3. Institution Building
Drawing from its own development experience. India sets great store by capacity-building and the promotion of skills. While training of foreign personnel in India and the deputation of Indian experts abroad are important means to achieve this, a more sustainable, long-term solution lies in the building of appropriate institutions in partner countries. These include vocational training institutes, entrepreneurship development institutes, and specialised institutes to foster skills in specific areas such as agriculture and animal husbandry, ICT and business management, among others.
India spends $ 20 million on ITEC activities annually. Since 1964, the cumulative figure on this account is $ 3 billion, with around US$ 1 billion going to Africa. 40 per cent of the ITEC budget is devoted to project assistance. It may be noted that the Government of India has empanelled 48 prestigious institutions to offer as many as 220 courses in a wide variety of disciplines.
India has a long tradition of providing opportunities for higher education to students from developing countries. These may be for graduate and post-graduate courses in prestigious Indian universities, covering a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, science and technology and professional areas such as engineering and medicine. These scholarships are administered through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), although some scholarships may also be offered under the aegis of other institutions. Several universities also offer self-financing placements to foreign students and this number is now several times that of placements under government scholarships.
In the words of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
India is a country that has always played a constructive role on the world stage. Our offer of development aid, our development model is not based on ‘give and take’, but is guided by the developmental requirements of partner countries. Our focus has always been on Capacity Building and Resource Development. We have always strived for collective teamwork at all forums of our developmental partnerships.PM Narendra Modi