First Five Year Plan
Since 1951 India has completed 11 five year plans and 12th five year plan is about to finish in 2017. Each five year plan started from April 1 of a particular and ended on March 31 of a particular year, so by convention the five year plans take on 5 financial years. India’s First Five year plan was launched on April 1, 1951. Three Annual Plans were launched between third five year plan & fourth five year plan . The fifth five year plan was launched by the Indira Government but was abandoned one year before its scheduled end by the Janta Alliance government. Instead of a regular plan, the Janta Government introduced Rolling plan in 1978. This rolling plan was launched actually as 6th plan from 1978 to 1983, but soon Janta Government was ousted from power and incumbent Indira Government abandoned it and launched her own sixth plan in 1980. The Eighth five year plan started two years than the scheduled time because India’s economy was in shambles during 1990-92.
First Five Year Plan 1951-56
The first five year plan was presented in the parliament by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in December 1951.This plan promoted the idea of self reliant closed economy and was developed by Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis. The plan had heavily borrowed ideas from USSR’s five year plans developed by Domer. Due to this, the first five year plan is also called Domer-Mahalanobis Model. It was modified version of the Harrod–Domar model with few changes.
In this plan, highest priority was given to the Agriculture, Irrigation & Power Projects. Total plan budget of Rs. 2069 Crore was allocated to seven broad areas: irrigation and energy (27.2 percent), agriculture and community development (17.4 percent), transport and communications (24 percent), industry (8.4 percent), social services (16.64 percent), land rehabilitation (4.1 percent), and other (2.5 percent). The plan was success due to favourable monsoons and relatively higher crop yields.
Other key notable points are as follows:
- Many irrigation projects including Bhakra Dam and Hirakund Dam were started in first five year plan.
- At the end of the plan period in 1956, five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were started as major technical institutions.
- University Grant Commission was set up to take care of funding and take measures to strengthen the higher education in the country.
Critical Assessment of First Five Year Plan
At the time of Independence, India faced several problems such as partition and influx of refugees, severe food shortage, mounting inflation and disequilibrium in economy due to second world war. First five year plan ushered India into planned economy with a socialist aim. Its key objective was to achieve self sufficiency in food production, so highest preference was given to agriculture. The total outlay of this plan was Rs. 2069 Crore which was later increased to Rs. 2378 Crore.
But this plan was more or less a haphazard venture because at that time there were no concrete data and reliable statistics. The plan was basically a patchwork of so many projects which were isolated with each other. However, the plan was a great success thanks to the two continuous good harvests and emphasis on agriculture & irrigation. The country was able to achieve the targeted growth and was able to increase national income. However, the per capita income did not increase substantially because increase in national income was offset by increase in population. Indian Government had collaborated with the WHO to address infant mortality and this also contributed in growth of population.