Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the 12th five Year Plan (2012-2017) was targeting an 8.2% growth in the economy. This is lower than the 9%-plus growth that was being targeted earlier. In July, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia had said that it was "not possible to think of an average growth of 9% in the 12th Five Year Plan", because of the various constraints facing the economy. (read here)
However, Manmohan Singh has not completely given up on the 9% target that looked within reach just a year ago.
"The economy has gained many strengths. Our immediate priority must be to orchestrate a rebound in the second half of the current year. We should then try to accelerate growth to reach around 9% by the end of the Plan period," the Press Trust of India quoted him as saying at the meeting of the Full Planning Commission, which was called to approve the 12th Five Year Plan document.
At the same time, he said that it was necessary to revive investment sentiment to achieve the 8.2% target, and that growth could fall as low as 5% if there was a policy logjam. He also said there was a strong need to accelerate farm sector growth to around 4%. He was hopeful that foreign capital could be attracted once the fiscal deficit situation was under control.
The Planning Commission is aiming for an ambitious USD 1 trillion investment in the infrastructure sector during the Plan period. Singh stressed on the need for more public-private partnership for infrastructure development in the country.He said he would personally review the performance of infrastructure ministries.
He also said India's import dependence was rising and that there was urgent need to improve energy efficiency. He pegged the current account deficit during the 12th Plan at 2.9% of GDP.