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Poor economy derails Plan Comm’s 8% growth target in 12th Plan

New Delhi (PTI): Poor performance of the economy during 2013 derailed Planning Commission’s ambitious growth target of 8 per cent for the 12th Plan, which the nation’s official think-tank will revise downwards in the new year as part of its mid-term review exercise.

Attributing lower-than-expected growth to global factors, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said 12th Plan’s growth target could be lowered to around 7.5 per cent.

“In the 12th Plan for the first time, upper-end performance was going to be around 8 per cent average in a year but since then global economy has done much worse.

“So, today 8 per cent is bit on the high side. The possibility for next five years I feel is 7.5 per cent which is not impossible,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.

During the first year of the 12th Plan, India’s economy grew by only 5 per cent, the slowest in a decade.

In the first half (April-September) of the current fiscal FY2013-14, the economy grew by just 4.6 per cent.

The Planning Commission will conduct the mid-term review of the 12th Five Year Plan by the end of 2014, for which the preparatory work has started already, Ahluwalia said.

“The 12th Plan has set a target of 8 per cent growth over the five year period 2012-13 to 2016-17. With a growth of only 5 per cent in the first year and perhaps 6.5 per cent in the second, it will require a very sharp acceleration in the later years to achieve an average of 8 per cent over the entire Plan period,” the Commission said in its 12th Plan document.

The Indian economy grew at over 9 per cent for five years before 2008, a period during which global economy was booming.

In one of its major thrusts to fuel economic growth and promote economic activity, the government cleared docks to get going big infrastructure projects by setting up the Cabinet Committee on Investment to deal with situations where clearances were unduly delayed.

The Commission in the 12th Plan has also proposed a two pronged strategy to bring the macro economic imbalances under control and to reverse the slowdown, as well as pushing for structural reforms in areas critical for maintaining medium term growth.

However, Ahluwalia, remains optimistic of an economic turnaround in the coming quarters on the back of various measures taken by the government supported by good agricultural production this year.

“I expect to see recovery in the coming quarters. Exactly how much that it will produce, is difficult to predict right now. But we are definitely on a turnaround path,” Ahluwalia said.

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