Hard decisions needed to achieve 9% growth in 12th Plan: PM

Hard decisions needed to achieve 9% growth in 12th Plan: PM

New Delhi: The government has decided to take a pragmatic approach in setting a target of 9% growth rate for the economy in the 12th Plan, starting April 2012.

“In fact the Commission has pointed out that given the uncertainties in the global economy, and the challenges in the domestic economy even a 9% target is feasible only if we can take some difficult decisions," said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing the full Planning Commission on Saturday.

He added achieving 9% growth rate will require large investments in infrastructure sector development.

The meeting was held to clear the approach paper for the 12th Plan, which provides the basic guidelines for drawing up a Plan.

Economic growth in the ongoing 11th Plan is estimated at 8.2%.

The growth target for the agriculture sector has been set at 4% for the 12th Plan against an estimated growth of 3.3% in the current Plan.

The approach paper will require Cabinet clearance before it is put before the National Development Council (NDC), also comprising state chief ministers and senior bureaucrats besides Cabinet ministers in the Centre.

Once ratified by the NDC, the execution of the Plan process will begin.

“We are hoping to have the NDC meeting by October," said deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

With a full chapter dedicated to governance in the approach paper Ahluwalia also said due recognition has been given to corruption and how it can be mitigated.

“This will include cleaning the system from the grass root level, starting from Panchayati Raj Institutions and plugging leakages in the government’s centrally sponsored schemes," said B. K. Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission.

Centrally sponsored schemes include the job guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Rural Health Mission aimed at creating better medical facilities in rural areas and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, an elementary education programme.

Ahluwalia said the approach paper also emphasizes on the energy sector which needs to grow at 6% to achieve a 9% overall growth, Planning Commission endorsing the finance ministry’s fiscal consolidation targets to reduce subsidies, creating skilled workforce for better employability and larger involvement of states in mitigating water scarcity both for drinking and irrigation purposes.