Five-Year Plans of India -1

Five-Year Plans (FYPs) are centralized and integrated national economic programs. Joseph Stalin implemented the first FYP in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s. Most communist states and several capitalist countries subsequently have adopted them. China and India both continue to use FYPs, although China renamed its Eleventh FYP, from 2006 to 2010, a guideline (guihua), rather than a plan (jihua), to signify the central government’s more hands-off approach to development. India launched its First FYP in 1951, immediately after independence under socialist influence of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The First Five-Year Plan was one of the most important because it had a great role in the launching of Indian development after the Independence. Thus, it strongly supported agriculture production and it also launched the industrialization of the country (but less than the Second Plan, which focused on heavy industries). It built a particular system of mixed economy, with a great role for the public sector (with an emerging welfare state), as well as a growing private sector (represented by some personalities as those who published the Bombay Plan).

First Plan (1951–1956)

The first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru presented the First Five-Year Plan to the Parliament of India and needed urgent attention. The First Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 which mainly focused in development of the primary sector. The First Five-Year Plan was based on the Harrod–Domar model with few modifications.

The total planned budget of Rs.2069 crore(2378 crore later) was allocated to seven broad areas: irrigation and energy (27.2%), agriculture and community development (17.4%),transport and communications (24%), industry (8.4%), social services (16.64%), land rehabilitation (4.1%), and for other sectors and services (2.5%). The most important feature of this phase was active role of state in all economic sectors. Such a role was justified at that time because immediately after independence, India was facing basic problems—deficiency of capital and low capacity to save.

The target growth rate was 2.1% annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth; the achieved growth rate was 3.6% the net domestic product went up by 15%. The monsoon was good and there were relatively high crop yields, boosting exchange reserves and the per capita income, which increased by 8%. National income increased more than the per capita income due to rapid population growth. Many irrigation projects were initiated during this period, including the Bhakra, Hirakud and Damodar Valley dams. The World Health Organization (WHO), with the Indian government, addressed children’s health and reduced infant mortality, indirectly contributing to population growth.

At the end of the plan period in 1956, five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were started as major technical institutions. The University Grants Commission (UGC) was set up to take care of funding and take measures to strengthen the higher education in the country. Contracts were signed to start five steel plants, which came into existence in the middle of the Second Five-Year Plan. The plan was quasi successful for the government.