12th Plan growth rate pegged down, Jaya walks out of NDC meet

New Delhi: Reflecting the economic downturn, the growth target for the 12th Plan was today scaled down at a meeting of the NDC which was marred by an angry walkout by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh favoured a phased hike in energy prices to rein subsidy bill.

The day-long meeting of the Chief Ministers, which approved the 12th Plan Five Year Plan Document aimed at 8 per cent average annual growth, from 8.2 per cent in the draft, saw the Prime Minister issue a warning that failure to control subsidies would lead to cut in plan expenditure.

Singh also favoured a phased hike in the prices of petroleum products, coal and power as they are underpriced.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram added his bit saying that it was imperative to contain the fiscal deficit. Some measures may cause immediate pain but they were necessary to bring down the deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP in the next three years, he said.

There was high drama early in the meeting when Jayalalithaa staged a walkout protesting against the "big humiliation" when a bell was rung signalling her to conclude her speech after ten minutes of her taking the floor.

Later she cut short her stay and returned to Chennai saying that putting a time limit on the speech was a conspiracy stifle the voice of Chief Ministers.