Following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently taking over the finance ministry, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has endorsed the Prime Minister’s promise to take effective steps to roll back inflation and improve the gross domestic product (GDP).
Ahluwalia was in the city on Saturday on a private visit.
Talking to HT, Ahluwalia said transport, energy and infrastructure development were the key issues that the Planning Commission would address in a synchronised manner.
He said, "For the first time, the commission has set quarterly targets for all five to six ministries involved in development projects. The reports will be discussed and monitored at the ministry and principal secretary level, followed by a comprehensive scrutiny at the PMO."
Discussing the issue of power generation, he said that unlike the previous years, Coal India had signed a fuel supply agreement with the government. "But even then, the coal supply will be inadequate to meet the need, thus a viable option is to import coal," Ahluwalia said, adding that the commission would constantly monitor the process to check the shortfall.
Reiterating his recent statement that bringing back growth rate to 9% in the next five years was not possible, Ahluwalia said, "The growth has come down to 5.3 this year from 6.5 last year, and it is a challenge not to let it deteriorate further. We have devised a problem-solving mechanism which would be monitored by the Prime Minister; and to take the GDP to 6.5 this year, to 7.5 next year and to 8 in successive years would be a remarkable achievement."
Ahluwalia said the inflation that had touched double digit in 2011 had come down to 7.5 in 2012. "I hope the decrease in international oil/commodity prices would decrease the inflation rate in India," he added.
Ahluwalia said though the foreign direct investment is just 4% of the total 38% investment in the current Indian market, it should be encouraged as it would open up avenues for multinational companies.