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Northern Chief Ministers endorse Approach to Eleventh Plan

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 3 (UNI) The Chief Ministers of Northern States, who met here today as part of the Regional Consultations on the Approach Paper to the Eleventh Plan (2007-11), agreed with the broad contours of the the development model to be followed in these five years including stepping up the growth rate by 1.5 per cent, but desired Central intervention in several key areas and changes in Central policy.

''There are areas where Central policies need to be changed or improved. Equally there are areas where State policies need to be amended. It is a two-way street,'' Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told newspersons.

The meting, chaired by Dr Ahluwalia, endorsed the view of the Commission that growth rates need to be improved to 9.5 per cent from the present level of 7 per cent.

In fact, Dr Ahluwalia said some States felt that they can do even better than this.

The meeting was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Gulam Nabi Azad and Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh. Uttranchal Chief Minister N D Tiwari was not present at the meeting, but the event was attended by other State representatives.

A stringent note of dissent was sounded by Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav who questioned the decision of the Union Government to import wheat at a cost of more than Rs 1,000 per quintal while the 'mandis' of his state can provide wheat at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) rate of Rs 650 per quintal. Besides, he said, the quality of imported wheat was of sub-standard.

He also wanted a special package for farmers of Bundelkhand in Central Uttar Pradesh on the lines of Vidharbha region in Maharashtra and charged the Centre with discriminating against his state on some issues, especially in case of power.

The other Chief Ministers raised points specific to their states and the problems they were facing.

Dr Ahluwalia said the economy was in a phase of acclerating growth rate, but there will be years where there will be fluctutations. In the last three years, the growth rate had been high and the economy was poised to achieve a growth rate of 9 to 9.5 per cent by the terminal year of the next plan. It would thus catch up with the rapidly growing economies of South Korea and China.

The Plan Panel Deputy Chief said the Commission could have pitched for a higher growth rate, but in order to be realistic, the feasible growth rate could be higher by 1.5 per cent.

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