NEW DELHI: The Planning
Commission will wrap up its work on the Approach Paper for
the 12th Plan (2012-17) by July, Montek Singh Ahluwalia,
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission told the Express
on the sidelines of the launch of the book, “Growth and
Poverty – The Great Debate”.
According to Ahluwalia,
independent of the method of assessment, poverty in India
has decreased in the last two decades. However, this has not
translated into equality of access to opportunities.
Therefore, ‘inclusion’ requires
a multi-pronged response, he said, and added that though
there is greater economic growth across all states, within
states the inequality is worrisome. He underlined four areas
— energy, agriculture, urbanisation, water and land — that
need concerted efforts to make growth inclusive.
The book launch followed by a
panel discussion was organised by CUTS International and
attended by eminent economist Bibek Debroy, former finance
secretary Ashok Chawla, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman,
Professor at IMD, Lausanne, Jean Pierre Lehmann, and
director general of National Council of Applied Economic
Research Shekhar Shah.
Addressing the issue of
inequality across territories, Bibek Debroy, head of the
Centre for Policy Research raised a key issue on the
concentration of poverty and inequality in a few districts
of India and failure to address this.
Suggesting ways to to deal with
poverty, former finance secretary Ashok Chawla said, “We
need more resources to deal with poverty. We need to
increase our tax-GDP ratio which is currently hovering at
around 10-11 per cent through broad-base taxation system.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the
India-US High Technology Cooperation meeting hee, Ahluwalia
asked smaller American firms to invest more in the Indian
market and said the defence sector would be one area where
such companies can fill some important gaps.
He further said that the country
is targeting a 9 per cent growth during the 12th Plan and
for this the focus on energy security, infrastructure and
higher technology would be greater.
Ahluwalia said the Indo-US trade
ties have the potential to benefit from this.Backing India
Inc’s opposition to any mandatory contribution by corporates
towards social responsibility initiatives, he said the move
would tantamount to “privatising taxation”.
“There are certain proposals
that you should introduce a legal requirement that companies
should spend a certain percentage of their profits on CSR
(Corporate Social Responsibility). I am not in favour of
that,” Ahluwalia said.
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