This report analyses the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) and suggests a suitable framework for analysing the effectiveness of ITEC and similar programmes under the principles of South-South Cooperation (SSC). It examines the execution of ITEC regarding two of India’s close neighbours – Nepal and Bangladesh. It provides an overview of India’s development cooperation and its relationship with Nepal and Bangladesh to establish the context for ITEC assessment. The methods used include a review of the existing literature, discussions with subject matter experts and officials involved in the programme, a study of the official documents on ITEC and critical enquiry.
The study found that while ITEC is good at fulfilling all of the principles of SSC, several aspects diminish its effectiveness as a development cooperation programme due to the lack of: 1. Well-documented feedback and follow up procedures; 2. Contextualisation to the needs of recipient countries; 3. Alignment with SDGs, climate change, and gender; 4. Transparency in the selection of courses or participants; 5. Active involvement of recipient countries in designing courses.
Key Recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the programme include:
- Contextualise and customise courses using a needs assessment of partner countries
- Enhance transparency and openness to outside scrutiny of the ITEC programmes
- Foster partner country participation in course selection and design
- Establish outcome-driven institutional feedback and follow-up based on defined standards and processes
- Develop a composite index, based on measurable indicators, to evaluate ITEC impact
This report is not a comprehensive analysis of ITEC – it provides a broad analysis and evaluation of the programme. Nor is it limited to a functional assessment (evaluating ITEC’s effectiveness at building capacity). It aims to assess the usefulness of ITEC within the broader frame of Global South progress and SSC. The study was constrained by several limitations. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India, was circumspect in its engagement. This limited interactions with officials and access to data and internal documentation.
The study, therefore, drew information from external subject matter experts and the existing literature. Its findings and recommendations should be evaluated in the light of these limitations. It is also necessary to emphasise that difficulties were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extended lockdown in India, Nepal and Bangladesh imposed unexpected constraints on fieldwork and on engaging with relevant stakeholders.