8% growth in next 5 years cannot be taken as 'God given right': Montek
New Delhi: In view of deteriorating global economic situation over the last one year, achieving average growth rate of 9 percent in the next five years is not possible, and it may be 8-8.5 percent, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Friday said.
"It is not possible to think of an average of 9 percent (in 12th Plan, 2012-17). I think somewhere between 8 and 8.5 percent is feasible," Ahluwalia said on the sidelines of a conference of state planning boards and departments.
Last year, the Planning Commission got the approval for the 9 percent annual average economic growth target under the Approach document for the 12th Plan from the country's apex decision making body, the National Development Council (NDC), headed by the Prime Minister with all the Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers on board.
"When I say feasible...That will require major effort. If you don't do that there is not God given right to grow at 8 percent," he added.
He further said, "I think given that the world economy deteriorated very sharply over the last year...The growth rate in the first of year of the 12th Plan (2012-13) is 6.5 to 7 percent."
He also indicated that the soon he will share his view with other members of the Commission to choose a final number (economic growth target) to put before the country's NDC for its approval.
It was also informed that the work on 12th Plan document is on track and the voluminous document would be tabled before NDC headed by the Prime Minister for approval by September.
"We have targetted the National Development Council (NDC) meeting in September. I think we are on track," he said.
Before going to NDC, there would be full Planning Commission meeting that will be presided over by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers to approve the document.
Ahluwalia said, "We believe that we can do that (full Planning Commission meeting) any time after the end of July.
"I am hopeful that the Planning Commission will have approved the 12th Plan in second half of August. It has to go to the Cabinet. But since full Planning Commission includes all major Cabinet ministers, we are assuming that process (Cabinet approval) will be very quick."
About the inflation target, he said that it should not be more than 5 percent.
The Commission will retain its poverty reduction target in the 12th Plan as it was in the 11th Plan.
"I believe that we will certainly target substantial reduction. We need a little more work to get to that. Last time (for 11th Plan), we had said 10 percent. I think 10 percent is a pretty good target which would mean two percent decline every year during the 12th Plan period," he added.
About boosting farm output, he said the Commission would also retain agriculture growth target of four per cent in the current five year Plan.
"Agriculture growth target during the 12th Plan would be four percent because achieving more that would be difficult," he added.