MP PLANNING Board Vice-Chairman Dr Som Pal has said the approach paper to the 11th Five Year Plan that begins from April 1, 2007, has missed out on detailed analysis of domestic and external resource mobilisation, a proper analysis of the rate of saving, investment, revenue rates and quality, composition and classification of public expenditure in terms of percentages, correlations, implications and corrective measures with time frames and targets, which the 10th Plan contained.
“They are either missing or touched upon tangentially,” Dr Pal told Hindustan Times during his recent visit to the City. He said the 10th Plan approach paper had underlined that economic growth could not be the only objective for national planning. Development objectives were now being defined not just in terms of increase in GDP or per capita income but more broad in terms of enhancement of human well-being.
He said it was disturbing that the State, which was supposed to be the custodian of the life, property and dignity of its citizens, was progressively tending to be the cause of denigration of citizenship. A usual assurance of security by the Government was turning out to be a feeling of continuous insecurity. Hence, the index of human well-being should include this sense of protection or insecurity from the State as one of the parameters, he said.
Dr Pal had expressed similar comments during the regional consultations held for the approach paper to 11th Plan in Mumbai this June.
The recently released final approach paper, which forms the basis for drafting the 11th Plan, has invited praise and flak in equal measure. While on one hand it has been criticised for not being specific on ways to launch the second green revolution in the country, its emphasis on curbing Naxalism has received appreciation from most State Planning Boards of the country.
The Paper also been criticised for agricultural exports where experts said 60 agri-export zones (AEZs) remain on paper and had not exported anything and they were nothing but corporate devices for grabbing valuable land for real estate and tax-evasion opportunities. Special Economic Zones have invited similar flak.
Even as the criticism mounts on the final approach paper, the major challenge is the balancing act between the escalating demands of funds for various programmes of the UPA Government, on the one hand, and the fiscal compulsion of sticking to the goalposts of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, on the other. According to analysts, with compulsions of coalition politics, meeting the resource challenges would not be easy.