10% not feasible, 12th Plan to target 9-9.5% GDP: Montek

10% not feasible, 12th Plan to target 9-9.5% GDP: Montek

New Delhi: Raising doubts over feasibility of achieving 10% average economic expansion in the 12th Plan (2012-17), Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday said the next plan would target GDP growth of 9 to 9.5% in the next five years.

“If you ask me personally, I think setting target of 10% (GDP growth) as an average for 12th Plan, is not feasible...it would be somewhere between 9 to 9.5% next Plan period," he told reporters ahead of the meeting of the full Planning Commission.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants the Commission to aim at higher growth target for 10% during the 12th Plan, as against 8.2% estimated in the current plan.

“Our assessment is that the international situation is full of uncertainty... I feel that if we are looking at a five year period (2012-17), we can do much better than we did in 11th Plan. I don’t think that there should be much difficulty setting a target of 9%," he said.

A major area of focus would be on increasing agricultural productivity, he added.

“In the 10th Plan it (agricultural growth) was around 2%, in the 11th Plan it looks as if it will be 3%... it won’t be 4% that we had targeted. My view would be that in the 12th Plan we must make sure that we can get to 4%," Ahluwalia said.

Briefing the media persons on focus of the full Planning Commission meeting on Thursday to be headed by the Prime Minister, Ahluwalia said, “We would be presenting key issues to the full panel and the approach to the 12th Plan may be ready in a month from now".

Among others, the meeting will be attended by Planning Commission members and senior cabinet ministers, including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P. Chidambaram.

“What we are presenting on Thursday is not the 12th Plan approach. We are actually working on that... The Approach Paper should be in a month or so," Ahluwalia said.

The ‘Approach’ paper lays broad outline of a Five Year Plan.

About the thrust of the 12th Plan, he said, “One thing we have all agreed (internally at Plan panel) is that it (thrust of 12th Plan) will be faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth".

He also said that special thrust will be on achieving more progress in health and education, besides improving the gender ratio.

Regarding the progress of the 11th Plan, he said, “The bottom line is that we have seen progress but not enough".

Although the Commission had pegged the economic growth rate at 9% for the 11th Plan (2007-12), it was scaled down to 8.2% in view of the impact of the global financial meltdown on the Indian economy.