The Ninth Plan (1997-2002) was launched in the fiftieth year of India's Independence. The Plan aimed at achieving a targeted GDP growth rate of seven per cent per annum and there was emphasis on the seven identified Basic Minimum Services (BMS) with additional Central Assistance earmarked for these services with a view to obtaining a complete coverage of the population in a time-bound manner. These included provision of safe drinking water, availability of primary heath service facilities, universalization of primary education, public housing assistance to shelterless poor families, nutritional support to children, connectivity of all villages and habitations and streamlining of the public distribution system with a focus on the poor. The Plan also aimed at pursuing a policy of fiscal consolidation, whereby the focus was on sharp reduction in the revenue deficit of the Government, including the Centre, States and PSUs through a combination of improved revenue collections and control of inessential expenditures, particularly with regard to subsidies and through recovery of user charges and decentralization of planning and implementation through greater reliance on States and Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The Specific objectives of the Ninth Plan included :
The Ninth Plan envisaged an average target growth rate of 6.5 per cent per annum in GDP as against the growth rate of 7 per cent approved earlier in the Approach Paper. The scaling down of the target was necessitated by the changes in the national as well as global economic situation in the first two years of the Ninth Plan. Against this, the achievement in the growth-rate on an average was to be 5.5 per cent per annum.
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