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9% growth tough, but must be positive: PM

business Updated: Oct 23, 2011 01:18 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wondered whether India will achieve 9 % growth target in 12th plan (2012-17) and sought collective action against the "mood of negativism" that has gripped the country in wake of recent scams.

The PM also disagreed with charge of two chief ministers - Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu and Narendra Modi of Gujarat - of central government bias against non-Congress ruled states.

"If there is perception of discrimination it is a perception and not based on reality," he said, in his concluding remarks at the meeting of country's topmost policy framing body National Development Council, which approved the 12th plan approach paper.

PM's apprehension on economic growth was backed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who said the debt crisis in Europe and slowdown in the US were impacting domestic economy.

The Planning Commission had pegged 12th plan economic growth target at 9.5 to 10 % but lowered it in wake of recent global economic crises.

With plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia saying that global economic uncertainty could continue for another two years, panel sources achieving 8 to 8.5 percent growth in next plan will be an achievement. In 11th plan (2007-12), economy grew at annual average of 8.2 % as against the target of 9 %.

"The current slowdown is a matter of concern," PM Singh said at a meeting attended by 24 Chief Ministers and drew attention of investors towards India's two decades of economic reforms initiated by him as finance minister in 1991 and perused by different political parties in the State and the Centre. "It is our collective responsibility to reverse the mood of negativism," he said.

The PM found some truth in the criticism that high economic growth had not brought enough inclusiveness and urged states to rise above party politics, once elections are over, to ensure "longer term development".

The PM expressed "sympathy" towards claim of state Chief Ministers that Central government schemes were not flexible as per specific needs of the states and said solution to the problem would be found in 12th plan.