The 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12) had a motto of faster and inclusive growth. But in that Plan document, the inclusive part was not very well articulated.
The 12th Plan tries to take this concept to the next level. In doing so, it essentially points to the number of dimensions in which inclusiveness should be looked at. These dimensions are then carried forward in the sectoral chapters. This is the most important part of the 12th Plan document. The focus on education was a very important part of inclusiveness strategy was there since the 10th Plan, when the Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan (SSA) was started. But it has been taken forward now and the question being answered in the 12th Plan is that SSA has created the basic capability but for education to be inclusive, we have to go beyond.
The other important aspect of inclusiveness is health care. The document recognises that the objective of a strong public health care system is not achievable in the near future, as adequate health professionals are not there. The Plan has a two-pronged strategy — enhance the number of people engaged in health care and leverage health care facilities in the private sector to provide better services to the poor. The other issue that has been addressed firmly in the Plan is that the big areas of concern are going to be energy, land and water. And in addressing these issues the current business-as-usual manner of dealing with things will simply not work. The 12th Plan looks at different institutional regimes to handle these issues. One area where the 12th Plan is weak is that its strategy for overall growth is not very clearly articulated.
Former Principal Economic Advisor to the Planning Commission