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Plan panel approves 5 per cent reserves for growth

By Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 16: The Planning Commission has approved a proposal mooted by Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to allocate five per cent of the foreign exchange reserves towards infrastructure development and promotion of overall growth in the country.

Noted economist Kirit Parikh, a member of the Planning Commission, confirmed this on the sidelines of a function here over weekend, adding India's reserves stood at 150 billion U S dollars.

He said the proposal has been sent to the Prime Minister's office (PMO) for final nod.

Regarding the proper utilisation of reserves, Mr Parikh told UNI that, ''We need to find a creative way to utilise the currency lying with us and also to undertake big infrastructre projects to leverage their true potential.'' However, he declined to comment as to when the proposal would be implemented.

On the infrastructre development projects in Maharashtra, he said, already Rs 11,000 crore had been allocated by the Centre under the State annual plan outlay in 2005-06, out of which Rs 160 crore were meant for the completion of irrigation projects.

''We have asked the Maharashtra Government to complete the projects on hand first, before venturing to others,'' he said.

Most of the irrigation projects are not approved by the Planning Commission, and the Maharashtra Government is in a hurry to lay claim on the Krishna waters before the third tribunal comes into force, Mr Parikh added.

As per the Planning Commission records, 23 major and 31 medium irrigation projects started by the State government during the ninth plan period are still under various stages of development even after an expenditure of Rs 14,311.77 crore.

Dr Parikh also underlined the need for public-private participation in buildng infrastructre like roads and highways.

Earlier, in his convocation address at the S P Jain Institue of Management and Research, he urged the would-be managers to make full use of the current opportunities provided by the Indian economy.

''Our savings rate has increased to 29 per cent, foreign reserves are 150 billion U S Dollars and our exports have seen a year-on-year growth of 20 per cent for the past three years,'' he said.

''Our industries have been globally competitive and we are about to reap demographic competence. The number of dependents per family are declining, which would ultimately result in increased savings and, according to one demographer, would increase our growth by three percentage points,'' he added.

UNI

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