New Delhi: Achieving eight per cent economic growth in the next five years will require a “major effort” and cannot be taken as a “God given right”, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
Ruling out an average nine per cent economic expansion, as set out in the 12th Plan, he said lowering of ambitions for the period 2012-2017 will be internally discussed in the Planning Commission.
This is being done in view of a “sharp deterioration” in the world economy and its impact on India, Ahluwalia said.
“It is not possible to think of an average of 9 per cent. I think somewhere between 8 and 8.5 per cent is feasible. When I say feasible I mean it will still require major effort. If you don’t do that there is no God given right to grow at 8 per cent,” he said on the sidelines of a conference of State planning boards and departments here.
He said once the new numbers are discussed internally, they would be placed before the National Development Council (NDC) for inclusion in the Plan.
The NDC, presided over by the Prime Minister and comprising chief ministers, is expected to meet in September.
Ahluwalia said, “Given that the world economy deteriorated very sharply over the last year, the growth rate in the first of year of the Plan (2012-13) is likely to be 6.5 to 7 per cent.”
He said the work on the Plan document is on track and it would be tabled before NDC for approval by September.
“We have targetted the NDC meeting in September. I think we are on track,” he said. In the run-up to the NDC meeting, a meeting of the full Planning Commission presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected next month.