PM doubtful about 12th Plan growth rate

New Delhi: Amid the current economic slowdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today wondered whether India will be able grow by 9 per cent in the 12th Five Year Plan.

"The Approach Paper proposes a growth target of 9 per cent per year for the 12th plan between 2012 to 2017. It is relevant to ask whether this is feasible since the economy is currently slowing down," Singh said at the NDC meeting here today. The National Development Council (NDC), which met here to discuss the Approach Paper for the 12th Plan, was attended by senior central ministers and state chief ministers.

In his intervention at the NDC meeting, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the debt crisis in Europe and slowdown in the US were impacting domestic economy. "Renewed uncertainty in the global economy, due to sluggish US growth and worsening of the Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis and weak business sentiments and persisting high inflation at home, poses considerable challenges to the task of making a five-year plan," he said.

The Approach Paper, prepared by the Planning Commission, has projected the Indian GDP to expand by an average of 9 per cent in the next five years, up from 8.2 estimated in the 11th Plan. The economy, which recorded a GDP of 8.5 per cent in 2010-11, is expected to moderate to about 8 per cent in 2011-12, as against 8.75-9.25 percent projected in February.

During the first quarter of the current fiscal the growth slipped to 7.7 per cent from 8.8 per cent a year ago. Singh said that "the current slowdown is a matter of concern… We must guard against the mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country.