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Finmin-Plan panel clash fears to delay Budget review
January, 15th 2010

The government is likely to carry out the mid-term appraisal of the ongoing eleventh five-year Plan after the Union 2010-11 budget. The 
process, which was initially planned for January , is being delayed largely to avoid any conflict of opinion between the Planning Commission and the finance ministry on the state of the economy and the way ahead to surface during the budgetary exercise , a government official has said.

Speaking to ET, an official in the Planning Commission , who requested not to be identified, said there was a possibility that the views expressed in the mid-term appraisal on the state of the economy may be different from the line taken by the finance ministry in the budget and the policy measures announced.

Since the MTA has already been delayed, we do not want it to come out close to the budget announcement , the official said, adding that the Planning Commission wanted to avoid unnecessary controversies and therefore wanted to postpone the exercise till after the Budget is announced .

This year, the MTA which is an exercise carried out during the middle of a Plan period to assess the direction in which the Plan is moving and to take corrective action wherever required is slated to be much more than a review of how much money is going into various schemes and projects . In fact, deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has instructed all members to ensure that the MTA should clearly outline the areas of achievements and shortfalls of all programmes.

Since both the Union Budget and the MTA would be commenting on similar subjects, there is no point in both the documents coming out simultaneously , the official said.

The Eleventh five year Plan began in April 2007 and ideally the MTA should have been in place by October 2009. However, delay of a few months in finalising the document is nothing unusual and has happened several times earlier.

In a recent meeting with the Plan panel, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is learnt to have asked for the MTA to be announced by March this year.

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