Dec 27, 2012, 09.23 PM IST
Reflecting the economic downturn, the growth target for the 12th Plan was today scaled down at a meeting of the NDC which was marred by an angry walkout by Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh favoured a phased hike in energy prices to rein subsidy bill.
The day-long meeting of the Chief Ministers, which approved the 12th Plan Five Year Plan Document aimed at 8 per cent average annual growth, from 8.2 per cent in the draft, saw the Prime Minister issue a warning that failure to control subsidies would lead to cut in plan expenditure. Singh also favoured a phased hike in the prices of petroleum products, coal and power as they are under priced.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram added his bit saying that it was imperative to contain the fiscal deficit. Some measures may cause immediate pain but they were necessary to bring down the deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP in the next three years, he said.
There was high drama early in the meeting when Jayalalithaa staged a walkout protesting against the "big humiliation" when a bell was rung signalling her to conclude her speech after ten minutes of her taking the floor. Later she cut short her stay and returned to Chennai saying that putting a time limit on the speech was a conspiracy stifle the voice of Chief Ministers. Fresh from his electoral victory, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chauhan backed Jayalalithaa on the issue.
Modi launched his own attack on the centre saying the country was in the grip of pessimism because of "policy paralysis, intellectual bankruptcy and lack of leadership" at the Centre.
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