Since the attainment of independence, India has been facing many grave problems such as poverty, growing population, unemployment, price hike etc. All these problems are linked to our economic development, which can be tackled through proper planning. The Planing Commission was instituted in 1950 to make plans for the organized development of our country.
The main responsibilities of the Planning Commission are identifying the objectives of our economic Policy and determining its priorities. It also sees to it that the resources are utilized to the maximum extent. It also supervises the fair distribution of produce and the benefits of development to the largest number of people.
The Planning Commission has developed nine five-year Plans and six annual Plans till now. Many important changes were brought about through the first, second, third and fourth five-year plans. Indian economy was given a national character. Many privately owned business concerns have been nationalized, such as Life Insurance, Air Transport, Coal, Mines, Banks, etc.
The first two Plans were of much importance because all sorts of industries were developed during these plans. The production of steel was increased to a great extent. For more power generation, several river valley projects were completed.
In October, 1962 the Chinese attack put a severe strain on the economy of our country. Despite that the implementation of the third five year plan went on hand in hand along with the defence preparations. After the third plan, Fourth Plan was to commence from April 1, 1966. In the time financial difficulties arose and the plan had to be postponed.
In that situation three Annual Plans between 1966 and 1969 were taken up. During these plans agriculture, family planning and social services were given top priority.
The Fourth Five-year plan 1969-4, gave stress on the defence of the country. Many problems came in the way of this Plan but our country achieved progress on all fronts. The food problem was solved; many new industries were set up. India became militarily a powerful nation. It became clear during the Indo-Pak war in Dec. 1971.
The fifth Five-Year Plan aimed at increasing agricultural production and employment apportunities. But this plan could not be implemented due to some political reason. However, the Sixth Plan was implemented and priority was given to increase in production, power generation, rural electrification, etc.
The process of planning continued. The Seventh Plan, 1985-90 was centred on preparing India for the 21st centruy. The Eighth Five-year Plan could not take off due to the fast changing political situation at the centre. So it was decided that 1990-91 and 1991-91 would be treated as separate annual plans. The Ninth Plan, 1997-2002, aimed at greater production accompanied with equality, creation of employment opportunities, providing primary health services, primary education etc.
These five-Year plans have been designed to ensure that few people do not exploit the economic resources of our country- The Plans help the government in tackling the problems of the country. In addition, they ensure better future for the country and its people.