Achievements of Five Year Plans of regional development

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Although most of the Five Year Plans have not been able to achieve their full objectives but their positive roles in the country’s development cannot be overlooked. Following is a brief summary of the achievements of the planned development in differ­ent sectors of economy. During five decades of national planning the National Income (Net Na­tional Product or NNP) has increased 6.7 times from Rs. 40,454 crore to Rs. 271,052 crore implying a compound growth rate of 4.1 per cent per annum.

The per capita income has increased 2.5 times from Rs. 1,127 to Rs. 2,847 registering a compound growth of two per cent per annum. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased 7.3 times from Rs. 42,871 crore to Rs. 3,11,828 crore with an annual compound growth rate of 4.3 per cent.

Despite the successive drought conditions that prevailed during the first three years of the

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Seventh Plan (1985-90), the economy fared excep­tionally well during the Plan period with a growth rate of GDP at 6 per cent per annum as against the target of 5 per cent. The growth momentum was maintained during the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992- 97), which was launched at a time when the country was in a severe financial crisis and critical balance of payments positions. Important policy reforms have been made since June 1991 towards liberalization and structural adjustments of the economy and these measures have shown results.

The annual rate of inflation as measured by the Wholesale Price Index declined from 18.6 per cent at the end of 1991 -92 to 7 per cent at the end of 1992-93. Though it went up to 10.8 per cent at the end of 1993-94 and stood at 10.4 per cent at the end of 1994-95 it remained at single digit level during the last five years.

The agriculture development strategy followed since Independence, particularly since the mid-six- ties, has paid rich dividends. Apart from the new technology, public sector played an important role in promoting agricultural research and education through ICAR and state agricultural universities.

A well- designed extension work was created for dissemi­nating new technologies to the cultivators. The country has been able to meet the food needs in spite of the growth of more than two per cent per annum in population. The production of food grains increased from 51 million tons in 1950-51 to the level of about 199 million tons in 1996-97.

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During this period significant progress has been made in in­creasing the production of commercial crops like cotton from 3.04 million bales to 14.25 million bales, oilseeds 5.16 million tons to 25.16 million tones, sugarcane 57.05 million tons to 276.75 million tones. Besides, milk production increased from 17 million tons to 69 million tones and fish from 0.75 million tons to 5.35 million tones.

On the irrigation side the potential created on major, medium and minor irrigation schemes in­creased from 22.6 million hectares 1950t5 I to 89.31 million hectares in 1996-97 (utilization, poten­tial in 1996-97 being 80.54 million hectares). Under the power sector, total installed capacity (including non-utility), which was only 2,301 MW in 1950, increased to 95,183 MW (including non-utility) by the end of March 1996. Under the rural electrifica­tion programme, 5.02 lakh villages (85.5 percent of total villages) have been electrified up to March 1998.

In keeping with the National Policy on educa­tion various programmes have been launched for the universalisation of elementary education (UEE), these include Operation Blackboard, Minimum Levels of Learning, Reorganisation and Restructur­ing of Teacher Education, Nutritional Support to Primary Education (Mid-Day-meal), District Pri­mary Education Programme (DPEP) and improve­ment of school enrolment and quality of basic edu­cation.

Similarly non-formal education programmes (NFE) have been launched for providing alternative educational facilities to working children, school drop-outs and over-age children. The programme now covers 70 lakh children, the majority of whom are girls, in 25 states/Uts in 42.79 lakh centers. Similarly a total of 58 Shramik Vidyapeeths in 16 states and 1 UT are providing 225 different voca­tional training programmes. During 1997-98 around 5 lakh beneficiaries have been covered, of whom around 65 per cent are women.

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There has been a remarkable growth of uni­versities, colleges and institutions of higher learning and research in India during post Independence period. Women’s participation in higher education has increased by more than 24 per cent between 1950-51 and 1996-97. For making education more meaningful, vocationalisation of education has been introduced in 12 universities and 508 colleges. Dis­tance education facilities are being provided to those who cannot take up the full-time traditional courses. Facilities for SC/ST/OBCs/minorities and other de­prived groups have also been specifically created. Technical education has also been expanded re­markably during the past four decades.

Technology Development Missions (TDMs) have been set up during the Eighth Plan to meet the emerging indus­trial challenges. Special Technical Education Project ‘has been launched in various states to create capacity to meet the challenges in view of industrial growth and the increasing need for technically trained per- stim & within the country.

Between J 950-51 and 1984-85, the annual give with rate of industrial production was about 7 per cent and §.2 per cent between 1985-90, although it was not uniform throughout. It was at its all time low of 3.4 percent during 1965-70. The growth rate has reached 12.1 per cent in 1995-96 but has registered decline in subsequent years (6.1 percent in 1996-97, 6.7 per cent in 1997-98 and 4.1 percent in 1998-99).

Over the past 40 years, India has achieved a broad- based industrial development. Apart from quantita­tive increases in the output of industrial products the industrial structure has been widely diversified cov­ering the entire range of consumer, intermediate and capital goods. Besides, the development of public sector has made a major contribution in the moderni­sation of Indian economy.

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Considerable progress has also been made in industrial research and in absorbing, adopting and developing industrial tech­nology. Modernization and structural change in the industrial sector is also reflected in the vast expan­sion of the private sector both in the large and small scale sectors through the development of a network of banking institution and money market.

The rapid growth of agriculture and industry has also necessitated the expansion of the key sec­tors like coal, power, petroleum and transport. The output of coal increased from 32.3 million tons in 1950-51 to 319 million tons in 1997-98 while the production of petroleum rose from 0.26 million tons to 33.9 million tons during the same pe­riod. Similarly there has been substantial growth in the spread of network as well as in output of the transport system.

To achieve social justice, a number of poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes like IRDP, TRYSEM, DWCRA, DPAP, DDP, NREP, RLEGP, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana etc have been launched under the Five Year Plans. Similarly other measures like land reforms, abolition of bonded labour, abolition of child labour, liquidation of rural indebtedness, fixation of minimum wages for farm labour, drive against economic offenders etc. have also been adopted by the Government to achieve the objective of social justice.

The minimum need pro­gramme did improve the living conditions of the poor in rural areas through the provision of drinking water supply to 192,000 villages, house sites to 5.4 million poor rural families, and assistance for house construction to 1.9 million by 1984-85. But the various employment generation programmes have failed to make any impact in solving the problem of rural and urban employment. According to experts, only 10 per cent of the poor against the 20 per cent target have been raised above the poverty line under IRDP during the Sixth Five Year Plan without cre­ating any durable community assets.

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In a nut shell the achievements of the Five Year Plans may be summarized as follows:

1. Impressive industrialization in the capital goods sector, via leading role of the public sector.

2. Development of economic infrastructure like en­ergy, irrigation and transport- communication.

3. Diversification of export and import sub­stitution.

4. Rise in life expectancy of the Indian people from 37 years in 1951 to 62 years in 1996.

5. Development of a huge educational system, thereby raising the literacy level of 65 per cent (2001 census).

6. Development of science and technology and the nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

7. Achievement of self sufficiency in food grains. The per capita cereal consumption increased from 334 grams per day in 1951 to 471 grams in 1991.

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