Montek gets another term as plan panel dy chairman

The newly constituted Commission also has three new members. Official sources indicate that the Commission, headed by the Prime Minister, will have six members besides the Deputy Chairman.

While the Plan Panel, which plays a key role in formulating macro-economic policies, retains three of its members (noted agricultural economist Abhijit Sen, B K Chatruvedi and Syeda Hameed), it has dropped five other members (Kirit Parikh, Anwar-ul Hoda, V L Chopra, B Mungekar and  B N Yugandhar).

Honorary Vice Chancellor of Pune University, Narendra Jhadav, renowned social activist Mihir Shah and former member of the high-powered Prime Ministers' Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Sumitra Chaudhury are the Commission's new members. Sources also say that former ISRO chairman and noted space scientist K Kasturirangan will be inducted into the Commission in the near future with a view to incorporate space technology into economic planning.

Ahluwalia's retention is a suggestion that the government prefers trusted hands to steer the economy in the difficult times. Having him is also an indication of continuity given the role he played in devising the stimulus package. The Commission's immediate task would be to provide inputs for the general budget 2009-10, to be presented in the first week of next month. Undertaking mid-term appraisal of the 11th plan (2007-2012) is also at the top of its agenda. Despite the outgoing Commission setting the economic growth as 9 per cent, increasing upto 10 per cent during the final year of the period, the economy has stumbled to a mere six per cent growth in 2008 due to global recession.

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