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: (i) priority to agriculture and rural
      development with a view to generate adequate productive employment and eradication of
      poverty; (ii) accelerating the growth rate of the economy with stable prices; (iii) ensuring food
      and nutritional security for all, particularly the vulnerable sections of society; (iv) providing the
      basic minimum services of safe drinking water, primary health care facilities, universal primary
      education, shelter, and connectivity to all in a time-bound manner; (v) containing the growth rate
      of population; (vi) ensuring mobilization and participation of people at all levels; (vii)
      empowerment of women and socially disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Castes,
      Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and minorities as agents of socio-economic
      change and development; (viii) promoting and developing people’s participatory institutions like
      Panchayati Raj Institution, cooperatives and self-help groups; and (ix) strengthening efforts to
      build self-reliance. 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.
      Tenth Plan
            The Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-07) was approved by the National Development Council
      (NDC) in December, 2002. The Plan has further developed the NDC mandate objectives, of
      doubling the per capita income in ten years and achieving a growth rate of eight per cent of GDP
      per annum. Since economic growth is not the only objective, the Plan aims at harnessing the
      benefits of growth to improve the quality of life of the people by setting of the following key
      targets: Reduction in the poverty ratio from 26 per cent to 21 per cent, by 2007; decadal
      population growth to reduce from 21.3 per cent in 1991-2001 to 16.2 per cent in 2001-11; growth
      in gainful employment, at least, to keep pace with addition to the labour force; all children to be
      in school by 2003 and all children to complete five years of schooling by 2007; reducing gender
      gaps in literacy and wage rates by 50 percent; literacy rate to increase from 65 per cent in 1999-
      2000, to 75 per cent in 2007; Providing potable drinking water to all villages; increase in
      forest/tree cover from 19 per cent in 1999-2000, to 25 per cent in 2007; and cleaning of major
      polluted river stretches.
            The Tenth Plan had a number of new features that include, among others, the following:
      Firstly, the Plan recognised the rapid growth in the labour force. At current rate of growth and
      labour intensity in production, India faces the possibility of rising unemployment, which could
      lead to social unrest. The Tenth Plan therefore aims at creating 50 million job opportunities
      during the period, by placing special emphasis on employment intensive sectors of agriculture,
      irrigation, agro-forestry, small and medium enterprises, information and communication
      technology and other services. Secondly, the Plan addresses the issue of poverty and the
      unacceptably low levels of social indicators. Although these have been the objectives in earlier