Plan Panel meet to address price rise & economy

Meeting to also review implementation of the integrated energy policy

Plan Panel meet to address price rise & economy



Besides chalking out the strategy to combat the impact of drought, which has already hit 252 out of about 600 districts, which may pull down the economic growth to about six per cent, the meeting will also review the implementation of the integrated energy policy.

In addition to Plan panel Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and its regular members, the meeting will also be attended by over a dozen ministers including Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram, Murli Deora and the prime minister’s economic adviser C Rangarajan.

Drought effect

Hit hard by the drought, the economy, which is still reeling under the impact of the global financial meltdown, is estimated to grow by a little over 6 per cent, down from 6.7 per cent in the previous fiscal.Admitting the poor monsoon will affect prices, Singh told reporters on Saturday, “no one has control over drought. It’s a severe drought. If you look at numbers, it’s in many parts and naturally it affects prices.” 

The RBI in its recent report warned that deficient monsoon and the possible adverse effects on agriculture output may not only put pressure on food prices but also raise the demand for more subsidies and relief measures. The Integrated Energy Policy (IEP), which was approved by the cabinet last December, has made about 110 suggestions, of which action has been taken on only 29. The IEP had also recommended more liberalised regime for setting up captive and group captive power generation units. The proposal faced opposition from the state electricity boards which feared that the move would leave them with small and agriculture consumers. The other important issue likely to come up during the meeting pertains to providing power subsidy to low income households. The Planning Commission has been suggesting that subsidy should be given in cash to below poverty line (BPL) families.

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