Impact of drought on India’s recovering economy and tardy implementation of integrated energy policy will be the core of the discussion when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets the full Planning Commission on September 1, for the first time after returning to power. Singh will chair the meeting to be attended by seven key Cabinet ministers.
Deputy chairperson of the commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said country’s economic growth and issues involving energy will be discussed. Cabinet ministers — Kapil Sibal, Pranab Mukerjee, P. Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and A.K. Antony — will also participate in the meeting.
The meeting has been called in the backdrop of recent developments like half of India being declared drought-hit and visible signs of economic growth recovery. With this, Ahluwalia has projected the economy to grow at 6.8 per cent in this fiscal and to reach 9 per cent in the next two years.
It can happen only if India improves its power generation capacity.
Singh has called a meeting to discuss some of these key issues and find ways to further strengthen economic growth.
“Power sector reforms would be the key to the new plan,” a plan panel official, not willing to be quoted said.
Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had recently accepted in presence of Ahluwalia that growth target for power sector will have to be reduced because of the poor performance.
The economy is showing positive signs but is heading for tougher times because of failure of monsoon and the country facing unprecedented drought. The panel has projected that drought can impact economic growth by 0.4-0.8% of the GDP.