The government has approved the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) document that seeks to achieve annual average economic growth rate of 8.2%, down from 9% envisaged earlier, in view of fragile global recovery.
``The Union Cabinet also discussed the draft 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) and approved the draft and directed the that the draft be placed before the National Development Council (NDC),`` Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.
``It is an ambitious Plan. It estimates resources at an ambitious level and hope to expand the interventions in critical areas like health, education, drinking water, sanitation,`` he said.
He further said, ``The projected average rate gross capital formation in the 12th Plan is 37% of GDP. The projected gross domestic savings rate is 34.2% of GDP and the net external financing needed for macro economic balance has been placed at 2.9% of GDP. Plan emphasises the need for speeding up the implementation of infrastructure projects.``
The 12th Plan document has already been approved by the full Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 15.
Now, the document will be placed before the National Development Council (NDC), the apex decision making body, for final approval.
The NDC headed by the Prime Minister with all Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers on board, is the final authority to approve the five-year long policy document.
In view of the ongoing global problems, the average annual growth target for the 12th Plan has been scaled down at 8.2% from 9% envisaged in the Approach Paper to the 12th Plan.
During the 11th Plan (2007-12), India has recorded an average economic growth rate of 7.9%. This, however, is lower than the 9% target envisaged in 11th Plan.
The five year policy has also said that to achieve the targeted growth rate, the fixed investment rate should rise to 35% of GDP (at constant prices) by the end of the 12th Plan, yielding an average fixed investment rate of 34% of GDP (at constant prices) for the entire Plan as a whole.
The Plan also emphasises a broad definition of inclusiveness, which encompasses a spread of benefits to the weaker sections, inducing SC/STs, OBCs and minorities, and also regional balance in development, a statement said.
It also stresses on the need to speed up the pace of implementation of infrastructure projects which is critical for removing supply bottlenecks which constrains growth in other sectors, and also for boosting investors sentiment to raise the overall rate of investment.
The policy document also proposes that beneficiary payments across a large number of schemes, which have experienced leakages in the delivery system may be carried out through the use of Aadhaar (UID) platform, it added.
It estimates resource availability for the 12th Plan at Rs 80,501.23 billion in current prices for Centre and states together.
This implies the public sector resources for the 12th Plan would be 11.8% of GDP against 10.96% realized during the 11th Plan (2007-12), it added.
Besides other things, the 12th Plan seeks to achieve 4% agriculture sector growth during the Plan period.
The growth target for manufacturing sector has been pegged at 10%. The total plan size has been proposed at Rs 47.7 lakh crore, 135% more that the investments realised in the 11th Plan (2007-12).
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved granting of international airport status to airports in Lucknow, Varanasi, Mangalore, Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore.
``All these airports are capable of handling medium capacity-range, long-range type aircraft and are also equipped with facilities for night operations,`` Finance Minister P Chidambram told reporters after the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
In good news for about two lakh central government employees, the union cabinet today approved doubling of existing rates of hospital patient care allowance.
Besides, it has decided to revise the existing rate of risk allowance given to central government employees engaged in hazardous duties across the country.
``The cabinet approved revision of rates of Risk Allowance. Hospital Patient Care Allowance and Patient Care Allowance payable to about two lakh entitled central government employees are to double from existing rates with effect from September 1, 2008,`` an official statement said.
The decision will result in considerable financial savings as compared to the Risk Insurance Schemes or Packages, the statement said.
The government approved amendments to Companies Bill 2011, including changes related to spending on CSR activities.
The revised Companies Bill, which is expected to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, has limited the number of companies an auditor can serve to 20. It has also brought in more clarity on criminal liability of auditors.
An official release said the amendments are expected to make the Companies Bill, 2011 ``serve still better the interests of the corporates, investors and other stakeholders``.
``The proposed legislation will bring the law on the subject of corporate functioning and regulation in tune with the global best practices so that there is further improvement in corporate governance in the country through enhanced accountability and transparency,`` the release said.
The government approved the financial assistance of Rs 1.30 billion to Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), a state-run sick company, to pay salaries to its employees.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the implementation of the International Development Association (IDA)-assisted ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) worth Rs 28.93 billion.
An official statement said ISSNIP would supplement the much larger Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) which aims to boost the nutritional levels of women and children.