India targets 9.5 percent growth for next plan period (Lead)April 21st, 2011 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday set a target of 9-9.5 percent growth for the next Five Year Plan that starts April 2012, against an estimated 8.2 percent growth in the current period.
“Planning Commission should focus on policy and governance reforms, while working towards a growth target of between 9 to 9.5 percent for the 12th Five Year Plan,” the prime minister told a meeting here of the full Planning Commission, of which he is the chairman.
“We should also set monitorable targets related to different dimensions of inclusiveness, and then work to achieve these targets by appropriate design of policy and funding of Plan schemes,” he said.
According to the Planning Commission, the average economic growth during the current plan period (2007-12) was likely to remain 8.2 percent against a target of 9 percent.
“We need to identify critical areas where existing policies are not delivering results, and should, therefore, be strengthened, or even restructured. We also need to consider what new challenges have emerged which call for altogether new initiatives.”
The prime minister said the nation will end the current five year plan with a growth rate of 8.2 percent, as per estimates of the Planning Commission and circulated among members.
“This is short of the 9 percent target, but it is a commendable achievement for a plan period which saw a severe drought as well as a global economic slowdown,” he told the meeting at Yojana Bhawan, the headquarters of the plan panel.
Noting that the availability of resources a critical issue in any plan, the prime minister said the Planning Commission and the finance ministry should work together to arrive at an agreed position on its availability for the 12th Plan.
“However, we do know that resources will be a constraint. This underlines the need to focus more on efficiency of resource use, and also supplement public resources with private investment, wherever feasible,” prime minister said.
In a presentation before the full plan panel, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia emphasised on the need for addressing the weaknesses in manufacturing sector, further liberalisation of foreign direct investment policies to help achieve 9-9.5 percent growth during the next plan period (2012-17).
“Manufacturing need to grow 11-12 percent per year to create necessary jobs. We must address the weaknesses in the sector,” Ahluwalia said.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman said the estimated 8.2 percent growth during the current plan period was remarkable considering the global economic downturn.
Later talking to reporters, Ahluwalia admitted that corruption was a big cause of concern for government as well as the Planning Commission and they were trying to address the loopholes in the system.
“Corruption is a big issue. Everybody is concerned about it including government and the Planning Commission,” he said.
“The government system, including system of procurement, system of decision making and system of choosing projects should be streamlined and made transparent to reduce the chances of corruption,” Ahluwalia added.
The high-powered meeting was called to consider what is called the approach paper of the next five year plan, which officials said will be finalised next month. After that, it goes to the National Development Council, which includes prime minister, cabinet ministers and state chief ministers.
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