Casual filing costs India $331 mn grants

Casual filing costs India $331 mn grants

New Delhi: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the world’s leading organizations set up to battle the diseases most threatening mankind, has rejected India’s proposals to raise funding for its fight against the diseases from the eighth round of the fund, citing technical problems in the requests made by New Delhi.

The rejection by the technical review board of fund, better known as The Global Fund, means a loss of funds worth $331 million (Rs1,579 crore), said Taufiqur Rahman, team leader, South and West Asia, The Global Fund.

Of this,about $103.5 million was meant for tuberculosis programmes, at least $97 million for HIV/AIDS and $130 million for malaria.

India is home to 2.25 million tuberculosis, or TB, patients receiving treatment, 2.47 million suffering from HIV/AIDS and two million from malaria.

Though a final decision on India’s application will be taken at The Global Fund’s 18th board meeting here on Friday, the board has a record of never rejecting advice from its technical review team.

The board is set to approve $3.15 billion worth of funding on Friday.

Proposals from India have been rejected in previous funding rounds, however, there has never been a blanket rejection. This is the first time that all three programme proposals have been rejected.

Late in October, according to media reports, Kenya said the agency rejected Nairobi’s application for $208 million after allegations surfaced of corruption in programmes to treat patients with HIV/AIDS, malaria or TB.

The Indian proposals were presented to the Geneva-based fund’s board by the India Country Coordinating Mechanism, or the liaison team from the Indian side, but it lacked coordination and preparation leading to technical problems in the proposal, a person working closely with liaison team said, asking not to be named.

K. Sujatha Rao, director general of National AIDS Control Organization, said she was not aware of what technical problems were cited in India’s proposals but added that the government intended amending the filing by March for the ninth round of the fund.

The Global Fund has committed nearly $750 million in funding to India in the next five years and has approved funding worth $491 million to date for various programmes. The idea of the fund was first mooted by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan in 2001 and was set up the following year.