Sunday, August 19, 2012

PM: Growth rate of 9% feasible if we take some difficult decisions.

Amid global economic uncertainty, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the government will have to take "difficult decisions" to achieve 9 per cent growth rate in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), up from 8.2 per cent estimated for the current Plan.

"... 9 per cent target (in 12th Plan) is feasible only if we can take some difficult decisions," Singh said in his opening remarks at the meeting of the full Planning Commission in Delhi
The meeting has been called to approve the Approach Paper for the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The Prime Minister also underlined the need to focus on implementation and governance to improve effectiveness of the flagship programmes aimed at promoting inclusive growth.

"These (flagship) programmes will continue in the 12th Plan, but as the (Approach) paper rightly emphasises, we need to focus on issues of implementation and governance to improve their effectiveness."

The Prime Minister also made a case for stepping up agriculture sector growth rate to 4 per cent during the next Plan saying it is necessary to avoid inflationary pressure and improve rural income.

India was growing by over 9 per cent before the global financial crisis in 2008 pulled down the economic growth to 6.8 per cent in 2008-09.

The economy is likely to grow expand by 8 per cent during 2010-11

The agriculture sector is estimated to grow by 3.3 per cent during the current Plan period (2007-12).

"I am happy to inform members that although the Approach Paper talks of achieving 3 per cent agricultural growth in the Eleventh Plan ... the latest estimates suggest that this will be 3.3 per cent," Singh said.

Agriculture contributes about 14-15 per cent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

The Commission had examined the range of 9-9.5 per cent for economic growth during the 12th Plan and it proposed that the government should set the target at 9 per cent.

Singh further said that achieving 9 per cent growth will require large investments in the infrastructure sector.

The global markets are in a tailspin amid concerns over euro zone debt troubles and their impact on banks, weak economic data in the US and other parts of the world.

On the domestic front, while high inflation is the biggest concern for the government, the industry has expressed worries over rising interest rates.

The Approach Paper notes that India was "fairly successful" during the 11th Plan in using a combination of public investment and public private partnerships for infrastructure development.

"We need to bring greater momentum to both these components so that present infrastructure shortages can be addressed in the shortest time available," Singh said.