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Target higher growth for next plan period: PM


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday called for an enhanced growth target for the next Five Year Plan that starts April 2012, against 9 percent for the current plan, and said policies that come in its way must be recast.

“The 12th Five Year Plan must build on what we have achieved and indeed do better in the next five years,” the prime minister told a meeting here of the full Planning Commission, of which he is the chairman.

“We need to identify critical areas where existing policies are not delivering results, and should, therefore, be strengthened, or even restructured. We also need to consider what new challenges have emerged which call for altogether new initiatives.”

The high-powered meeting was called to consider what is called the approach paper of the next five year plan, which officials said will be finalised next month. After that, it goes to the National Development Council, which includes state chief ministers.

The meeting was attended among others by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

The prime minister said the nation will end the current five year plan with a growth rate of 8.2 percent, as per estimates of the Planning Commission and cuirculated among members.

“This is short of the 9 percent target, but it is a commendable achievement for a plan period which saw a severe drought as well as a global economic slowdown,” he told the meeting at Yojana Bhawan, the headquarters of the plan panel.

Noting that the availability of resources a critical issue in any plan, the prime minister said the Planning Commission and the finance ministry should work to together to arrive at an agreed position on its availability for the 12th Plan.

“However, we do know that resources will be a constraint. This underlines the need to focus more on efficiency of resource use, and also supplement public resources with private investment, wherever feasible.”