Monday, November 29, 1999

12th Plan to retain 4pc farm growth target: Montek

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New Delhi, June 17 (PTI) The Planning Commission today said the 12th Plan is likely to retain the farm growth target at 4 per cent, as the previous two Plans failed to achieve it. "The 4-per cent agriculture growth is a good target for the 12th Plan (2012-17), which could not be achieved so far, as envisaged in the 11th Plan (2007-12)," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters here. "I think at the end of the 11th Plan, our assessment is that agriculture would show a better performance than in the 10th Plan (2002-07). However the 4 per cent growth in agriculture has not been yet achieved," he said. Initiating the work on the 12th Plan, Ahluwalia will preside over the first meeting with academics, experts and officials on Saturday. The panel will prepare an approach document for 12th Plan, which will be finalised by 2010-end. About the sluggish farm sector growth, Ahluwalia said, "agriculture growth is very crucial. We have already been emphasising on agriculture. But I think that we have to do even better." Asked about the economic growth target for the next Plan, he said, "that is very clear. The Prime Minister has asked us to explore the feasibility of reaching 10 per cent growth. And the process of drafting the 12th Plan will begin with the output from outside experts. This would help us in getting realistic assessment." "We will look at achieving 10 per cent growth. If it is not possible to do an average (of 10 per cent) then can we move from maybe 9 per cent at the end of the XIth Plan (2007-12), which is our hope. We have not taken a view on that," Ahluwalia said. On the need to give the major thrust to infrastructure in the next Plan, he said, "infrastructure is going to be of utmost importance if you want anything more than about 7.5 per cent growth. Every half a percentage point above 7.5 per cent growth requires very special efforts." About the approach document for the next Plan, he said, "in the past, the approach (paper) was chapter by chapter. Our approach here is to recognise what are the major drivers not only of growth but also of inclusiveness and many of them are cross-sectoral. "Therefore, we are trying to conceptualise the approach document in a way that is different from the usual Plan document. We have got rough idea of how to do that. The Saturday meeting is only to discuss the structure," he said. About the title of the Plan, he said, "I am deliberately keeping an open mind on that. I think it is more important to decide the title after we know what the Plan is." PTI KKS CS.

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