12th Plan approach paper to focus on governance

As the country grapples with a string of corruption issues, the approach paper to the 12th Five-Year Plan, which is in final stages of preparation by the Planning Commission, will focus prominently on governance issues. It will also outline what states and the Centre need to do to improve governanc.

Unlike speculations that the approach paper will fix a range of annual economic growth for the 12th Plan, which will begin from the next financial year, it will specify a particular number somewhere between 9 and 9.5 per cent, a key official involved in making the paper told Business Standard.

“Governance has become critical especially now that we are targeting high economic growth as we have seen that many good ideas do not lead to satisfactory results because of governance issues,” the official said. He said a full chapter could be devoted in the approach paper to governance reforms.

* The approach paper will outline what states and the Centre need to do to improve governance
* Annual economic growth likely to be specified somewhere between 9 and 9.5 per cent 
* Planning Commission to finalise paper shortly, after which it will go to the Cabinet and then to the National Development Council
* It will have broad guidelines of what the Centre and the states should do to achieve 9-9.5 per cent growth rate

“Both the states and the Centre have their own role to play in improving governance and the approach paper will try and capture that,” the official said. The paper will be finalised by the Planning Commission shortly, after which it will go to the Cabinet and then to the National Development Council.

At the full Plan meet held in April, a Commission paper had said citizen feedback reveals general dissatisfaction with state of public service delivery. It had said total quality management needs to be introduced at all levels. Delivery and policy functions need to be separated in government ministries, it had added.

The governance issues assume importance as the government draws flak from civil society and others on its handling of corruption. Though the paper will peg a specific number for annual average growth a year for the next five financial years, it will also have two scenarios of achieving 9 per cent and 9.5 per cent growth rate.

“The scenarios will broadly give an idea of what needs to be done at the Centre and state levels to achieve 9 per cent and 9.5 per cent growth rates and what is feasible and what is not,” another official said.

For example, on energy pricing, a part of this like fuel has to be done by the Centre and other areas like electricity and power will fall under states. “Hence the approach paper will focus on the both,” the official added.

In none of the five-year plans, India was able to register 9 per cent growth a year. The initial target of the ongoing Eleventh Five-Year Plan was to have nine per cent growth a year, culminating in 10 per cent in the terminal year, which is the current financial year. However, after the global financial crisis, this target was reduced to 8.1 per cent. The performance so far was little over that.

Business Standard news dated 12 July’11