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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Rs. 7,600-cr. Annual Plan for Gujarat finalised

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Tuesday, May 30, 2000


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Rs. 7,600-cr. Annual Plan for Gujarat finalised

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MAY 29. The 2000-2001 Annual Plan for Gujarat was finalised at Rs. 7,600 crores, marking a 16 per cent increase over last year's Plan size of Rs. 6,550 crores. The Plan was finalised during a meeting between the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr. K. C. Pant, and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Keshubhai Patel.

At the meeting, Mr. Pant complimented the State for the high growth rate during the first three years of the Ninth Plan period and also pointed out that the State had been utilising the Plan allocations and the per capita net State domestic product was higher than the national average. He, however, cautioned the State against increasing reliance on borrowings and pointed out that borrowings and debts constituted 69 per cent of the resources for the first three years of the Ninth Plan.

Gujarat required to take strong measures to retain its balance of current revenues at a positive level, reduce the level of borrowings and improve contribution of public sector enterprises and non-tax collections.

On water scarcity, Mr. Pant said the State should go in for strong regulatory provisions backed by laws to check over- exploitation of ground water and promote disciplined use of surface water. For this, a comprehensive water policy should be formulated and implemented with peoples' participation, he said and suggested that the State Government also take up rainwater harvesting through traditional methods in every village in a big way.

Mr. Pant also appreciated the State's move to prepare an agro- vision 2010 to provide a thrust to diversification in agriculture by moving towards high-value commercial crops and other allied activities by building up infrastructural support. Farmers required to be protected from recurring droughts by popularising water management practices. He offered funds for the publication of the human development report which the State had prepared recently.

Mr. Keshubhai Patel recounted the steps taken for augmenting resources. He said the latest Annual Plan gave priority to the social sectors by allocating 32.89 per cent for health, education, water supply, welfare of backward classes, etc. Under the irrigation and flood control schemes, Rs. 1,895.86 crores had been allocated which includes Rs. 1,330 crores for the Sardar Sarovar Yojana.

The Chief Minister also informed the Commission that three State public sector units had been closed while the process was on to close another three units. More than Rs. 400 crores had been spent on the voluntary retirement scheme which benefited over 17,000 employees. Mr. Patel said the State had announced a revised 15- point time-bound economic action plan which includes augmenting industrial investment by introducing new industrial policy, increasing irrigation area and agriculture production by 15 and 14 per cent respectively, and computerisation of 10 per cent of the official work.

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