New Delhi: The union cabinet meeting later Thursday is expected to consider and approve the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) that seeks an average annual economic growth of 8.2 percent and identifies infrastructure, health and education as thrust areas.
The growth rate has been lowered to 8.2 percent from the 9.0 percent projected earlier in view of the current slowdown in the economy and adverse international situation.
During the 11th Plan period, the average annual growth was 7.9 percent.
A full Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sep 15 endorsed the document which has fixed the total plan size at Rs.47.7 lakh crore.
The 12th Plan seeks to achieve 4 per cent agriculture sector growth during the five-year period “critical to achieve inclusive growth”.
Agriculture in the current plan period has grown at 3.3 percent, compared to 2.4 percent during the 10th plan period.
The growth target for manufacturing sector has been pegged at 10 per cent.
The document stresses the importance of infrastructure development, especially in the power sector, and removal of bottlenecks for high growth and inclusiveness.
It also sets targets for various economic and social sectors relating to poverty alleviation, infant mortality, enrolment ratio and job creation.
On poverty alleviation, the commission plans to bring down the poverty ratio by 10 per cent. At present, the poverty is around 30 per cent of the population.
According to commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, health and education sectors are major thrust areas and the outlays for these in the plan have been raised.
The outlay on health would include increased spending in related areas of drinking water and sanitation.
The commission had accepted Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s suggestion that direct cash transfer of subsidies in food, fertilizers and petroleum be made by the end of the 12th Plan period.
Direct cash transfers would bring down the government’s subsidy burden as the money would go directly to the “genuine” beneficiaries and “plug leakages” in the implementation of these schemes.
After the cabinet clearance, the plan for its final approval would be placed before the National Development Council (NDC), which has all chief ministers and cabinet ministers as members and is headed by the Prime Minister.