Food, fertiliser, fuel subsidies concerns Manmohan

November 14th, 2007 - 10:18 am ICT by admin  
“We need to address the problem of mounting subsidies in food, fertilisers and now, in petroleum which is a recent phenomenon. Over one lakh crores are going to be spent this year alone on these three items,” Singh said during the Planning Commission’s meeting.

The Prime Minister, who is the Chairman of the Planning Commission, noted the soaring global crude price that is inching towards a 100-dollar per barrel mark.

“It is important that we restructure subsidies so that only the really needy and the poor benefit from them and all leakages are plugged,” he added.

Singh also drew attention towards the food security of the country and said in the next decade it would be under stress.

“Global trends in food production and prices and our own demand patterns of consumption are going to put increasing pressure on both the availability and prices of basic food stuffs,” he said.

“If we have to manage these pressures, we need to ensure that the agriculture sector not only performs as per our expectations but also that our food planning adjusts to the emerging market realities,” he added.

Commenting on the allocation of funds for the health sector, he said, health too sees a substantial increase in outlays - both in absolute terms and in its share, adding, “The National Rural Health Mission remains the centrepiece of our efforts and by the end of the Plan, the total government spending on health at all levels would reach two per cent of our GDP.”

Talking about the disparity persisting in the country, Singh said, “The growth cannot be restricted to isolated pockets or to certain sections of society. We need it to be far more broad based.”

“The Plan, therefore, rightly emphasizes a strategy of inclusive growth. We must certainly do what is necessary to achieve the target of nine to ten per cent growth during the 11th Plan period,” he added.

“We must build on the strengths already evident to achieve this growth outcome,” he said.

Stating that agriculture would be a core focus of the government, Singh said the farm sector growth, which averaged around four percent in the last two years, is likely to remain at the same level in the current fiscal.

The full Commission approved the draft for the 11th Plan that began in April 2007 and aims at raising average GDP rate to nine per cent from 7.6 per cent during 2002-07, while more than doubling the outlay to Rs 36,44,718 crore.

The document seeks to make growth inclusive by increasing the outlay for priority sector programmes. (ANI)

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