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CMP does provide room for reform: Montek

Our Bureau


The newly-appointed Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, along with the other Planning Commission members (from left) Mr Anwarul Hoda, Mr B. Mongekar, Ms Syeda Hamid and Prof Abhijit Sen, after assuming charge in the Capital on Monday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , July 5

THE Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said on Monday that there was enough elbowroom within the framework of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government to carry out hard decisions and push for economic reforms to realise the seven to eight per cent economic growth projected in the CMP.

Immediately after assuming office as the Deputy Chairman at forenoon on Monday at the Yojana Bhawan here, Dr Ahulwalia told newspersons that the commission with its seven members would undertake mid-term review of the Tenth Plan (2002-07) programmes. He said policies and programmes pertaining to different sectors, including rural infrastructure, agriculture, education and health, would be looked into in order to see how best they could be reoriented or redesigned to reflect the CMP's objectives. He said the CMP talked about attracting private investment and public-private partnership to realise the economy's growth potential.

"Allocation to certain sectors like education and health needs to be enhanced. Without giving due emphasis to building economic infrastructure and agriculture, it will not be possible to achieve seven to eight per cent growth rate per annum as stated in the CMP," Dr Ahulwalia said.

He said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had directed him to see to that the declining trend in agricultural growth rate in the past few years was reversed to ensure higher economic growth and employment generation.

Dr Ahulwalia said to undertake mid-term appraisal of the Tenth Plan, all of the members would be part of groups and would review the policies and programmes in their domain. This will be supplemented by the views of external experts to arrive at a policy framework within which the new priorities and programmes of the UPA Government can be set. He said this was to ensure that objectives like basic social infrastructure and employment generation were adequately reflected, and the policies and programmes were tailored to promote these objectives.

When asked how ticklish issues, such as Employees Provident Fund (EPF), subsidies and gross budgetary support to the current year's Central Plan would be resolved, Dr Ahulwalia said that he had discussed various current economic issues with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.But he refused to divulge details as they form part of the Budget exercise.

Apart from the Deputy Chairman, other members who took charge include Mr Balchandra Mungekar, Vice-chancellor, Mumbai University; Mr Anwar-ul-Hoda, former Deputy Director General, WTO; Prof Abhijit Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Dr Syeda Hameed, member, National Commission for Women.

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