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XIIth Plan will stick to 4% growth projection for farm, allied sectors

Abhijit Sen, Member, Planning Commission with Santha Sheela Nair, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Commission, at a meeting of the Commission's steering committee on agriculture and allied sectors in Chennai on Wednesday. — Photo: R.Shivaji Rao

Abhijit Sen, Member, Planning Commission with Santha Sheela Nair, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Commission, at a meeting of the Commission's steering committee on agriculture and allied sectors in Chennai on Wednesday. — Photo: R.Shivaji Rao  

Steering committee meeting begins in Chennai

The XIIth Five Year Plan (2012-17) under formulation will stick to a 4 per cent growth projection for agriculture and allied sectors, Abhijit Sen, Member, Planning Commission, said here on Wednesday.

Mr. Sen, who is chairing a two-day meeting of the Planning Commission's steering committee on agriculture and allied sectors, told reporters that the 4 per cent growth goal was the same as in the XIth Five Year Plan for agriculture though “it is now fairly clear that we're short of that target” in terms of rate of growth.

According to the Central Statistical Organisation, during the first four years of the XIth Plan the agriculture sector had averaged a growth rate of 3.2 per cent, “which was quite short of target but considerably better than that of the Xth Plan.” Mr. Sen pointed out that the performance of the agriculture sector had to be gauged in the context of two quite bad years and one severely bad year monsoon-wise.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to chair a meeting of the full Planning Commission this Saturday in New Delhi for discussing and ratifying the final version of the approach paper for the XIIth Plan, Mr. Sen said. “If that (the approach paper) is approved then it will be referred to the Union Cabinet and eventually to the National Development Council,” he said. The NDC is likely to have a meeting by the end of next month.

On the issue of capacity building for food grains storage, Mr. Sen said that in addition to a scheme involving the Food Corporation of India that was already in place targeting storage space expansion to hold an estimated 15 million tonnes of produce, the Centre was also exploring a Public Private Partnership model on a silos-based approach to modernising storage. “What is holding the process up to an extent are certain ways of arriving at an acceptable PPP model.”

Replying to a question on exports, he said the Group of Ministers constituted to examine the subject had stated that there could be exports. There is no cap on exports of a commodity like the onion, only export price restrictions, he said.

Prompted for an approximation of the size of outlay for the XIIth Plan, Mr. Sen said that while sectoral decisions were still pending the outlay could probably be at least twice as much in nominal terms as the Eleventh Plan.

Santha Sheela Nair, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Commission, was present.

The third steering committee meeting under the auspices of the State Planning Commission is deliberating on various aspects, including fund projections, relating to agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and related sectors.

The agricultural sector in Tamil Nadu will be discussed on Thursday.

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