WB annual plan for 2008-09 finalised at Rs 11602.38 cr

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) The Planning Commission today finalised the plan outlay of West Bengal for the year 2008-09 at Rs 11602.38 crore.

The plan size was finalised at a meeting held here between West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

The plan size includes additional Central Assistance of Rs 150 crore for projects of special importance to the state.

Mr Ahluwalia complimented the state for improvements in the fiscal health, adding that the State Domestic Product Growth has shown a healthy increase at 8.1 per cent in 2005-06 and pointed out that the state was well set to reach 11th Plan target of 9 per cent growth rate.

Attention was drawn to the need for improved states' support in implementing national horticulture mission and skill development mission.

The Chief Minister said the state government was pursuing employment-oriented growth strategy and would be emphasising on agriculture, small and micro enterprises and development of physical and social infrastructure.

Mr Bhattacharya said Kisan Credit Card facility has to be extended to every agriculture household. Central support to vocational training and minority welfare programmes should be increased. Banks should ensure that loans are made available to self-help groups.

He said the state government was keen to improve quality of life in the Sundarban region and requested the Planning Commission to work out a separate master plan for the region.

Thrust areas for the next financial year would include human developemnt focused programme, sustainable agriculture growth, infrastructure build-up for industrialisation, intensifying industrial promotion and skill development, Mr Bhattacharya added.

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