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The missing picture in the ad

BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | January 03, 2004 13:48 IST

Success indeed has many fathers. After the finance ministry's 'India Shining' campaign, it is the turn of the Planning Commission to take credit for the state of the economy.

Feeling left out from the entire credit taking exercise, the Plan body has decided to jump on to the publicity bandwagon. Major national newspapers today featured a full-page DAVP advertisement -- 'India on the move' -- with scanned copies of media reports on the 8.4 per cent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2003-04.

The advertisement carries photographs of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman KC Pant.

It seems the Planning Commission believes three is a crowd and has left out Finance Minister Jaswant Singh's photograph.

To start with, the Plan body itself was quite sceptical about the growth target announced by the prime minister to double per capita income in 10 years.

Working backwards, they reduced the required 10 per cent GDP growth target to a more acceptable 8 per cent during the 10th Five-Year Plan. The 8.4 per cent GDP growth in July to September 2003-04, therefore, must have come as a big relief.

Finance ministry officials, after informally quipping that the gross budgetary support was actually 'gross borrowing support', had written to the Planning Commission, asking it to restrict the demand to Rs 93,000 crore (Rs 930 billion).

This is an allegation that Pant dismisses. The next financial year being an election year, the panel suspects the ministry is more interested in providing subsidies.

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