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Plan Panel meets to brainstorm on inclusive growth

business Updated: Nov 07, 2007 22:59 IST
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A meeting of the full Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to take place on Thursday to consider a diverse set of issues ranging from further opening up some key sectors to foreign direct investment (FDI) on the one hand to bringing the benefits of high economic growth to the poor and the underprivileged under an initiative to boost inclusive growth.

The plan panel has set an average GDP growth target of 9 per cent in the 11th plan period ( 2007-12) that is expected to catapult India among the hottest growth economies.

Sustaining such high growth rates would also lead to a doubling of the per capita income. The 11th Plan has set a monitorable target to increase agricultural GDP growth rate to 4 per cent to ensure a broader spread of benefits.

It has also set a target to create 70 million job opportunities and raise the inflation-adjusted real wage rate of unskilled workers by 20 per cent.

In addition, it has set a target to ensure electricity connection to all villages and below poverty line (BPL) households by 2009 and provide “round-the-clock” power by 2012. It has also set a target to provide broadband connectivity to villages by 2012.

“The strategy for faster and more inclusive growth presents formidable challenges and requires determined action by both the Centre and the states. Achieving these targets will not be an easy task, but is definitely feasible”, the commission said.

The meeting of the plan panel is also likely to discuss the proposed FDI review policy. A major review of the FDI policy is expected in the coming weeks to relax investment limits in several key sectors including real estate, petroleum refining, commodity exchanges and aviation.

The policy that has been in the works for the last few months, is now set to be approved, allowing public sector oil companies to divest up to 49 per cent equity in refineries. The policy, once approved, could allow foreign institutional investors to participate in public issues of realty companies. Currently, FII investment in realty stock only allowed in the secondary market as investment in public issues is considered as FDI.