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Deputy Chairman’s Welcome Address at the 49th National Development Council
Meeting on 1st September, 2001 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 49th meeting of the National Development Council.

Since independence, the process of Plan development has harmonized our aspirations with available resources for a common national goal. The National Development Council, at the apex of our policy making structure, has been guiding the course of this development process. It is a forum, which has fostered consensus building amidst diverse and varying perspectives. The plans embody this spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding. We can be proud of this unique example of democratic decision-making in a federal polity.

The Five Year plans lay down the road map and strategy for realizing our developmental aspirations. They seek to bring together various development agencies in both the public and private domains, for the attainment of our goal. They provide the basis for the Centre and States to act in concert. We have gathered here today, on this momentous occasion, to primarily discuss the Approach Paper to the Tenth Five Year Plan, the first of this millennium. There are some other items also on the agenda.

While preparing this Approach Paper, we were conscious of two issues. First, that it should reflect a broad cross-section of public opinion and expertise in identifying the objectives and also the instrumentalities for realizing them. We have, accordingly, carried out consultations with experts, academicians and representatives of agriculture, industry, social sectors, voluntary organizations and labour unions. We took note of their suggestions and circulated a draft to all State Governments and Central Ministries for comments. Most of these views are reflected in the draft that is now before you.

Secondly, we have a definite time frame for completing our exercise. After the endorsement of the Approach Paper by the NDC today, with your cooperation, we shall press ahead to launch the Tenth Five Year Plan, on schedule, i.e., on 1st April, 2002.

I now have great pleasure in requesting the Hon’ble Prime Minister to give his inaugural address.