Short notes on the Strategy of Planning in India since, 1951!

Since, 1951, India has completed Nine Five Year Plans. Tenth Plan is currently under execution. The guiding principles of the India’s Five Year’s Plans are provided by the basic objectives of growth, employment, self -reliance and social justice. Apart from these basic objectives each Five Year Plan takes into account the new constraints and possibilities faced during the period and attempts to make necessary directional changes and emphasis.

During the First Five Year Plan (1951-56) India was facing three major problems i.e., influx of refugees, severe food crisis and mounting inflation. India had also to correct the disequilibrium in the economy caused by the Second World War and partition of the country. Therefore, the First Plan emphasized, as its immediate objectives and rehabilitation of refugees, rapid agricultural development so as to achieve food self-sufficiency in the shortest possible time and inflation control.

The Second Plan (1956-61) started in an atmosphere of economic stability. Agricultural targets fixed in First Plan had been achieved. Poverty level had registered a fail, and consequently, it was felt that the Indian economy had reached a stage where agriculture could be assigned a lower priority and a forward thrust made in the development of heavy and basic industries of the economy for more rapid advance in future.


The Third Plan (1961-66) gave top priority to agriculture but it also laid adequate emphasis on development of basic industries, which were vitally necessary for rapid economic development of the country. However, because of India’s conflicts with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965, the approach of the Third Plan was later shifted from development to defence.

The Fourth Plan (1969-74) aimed at an average 5.5% growth rate in national income and the provision of national minimum for the weaker sections of the community -the latter came to be known as the objectives of ‘growth with justice’ and ‘garibi hatao’ (Removal of poverty).

The Fifth Plan (1974-79) strategies launching a direct attack on the problems of unemployment, massive low end poverty. But this approach was eventually abandoned and final draft of the Fifth Plan prepared and launched by DP Dhar proposed to achieve the two main objectives, i.e., removal of poverty and attainment of self-reliance.

The Sixth Plan (1980-85) was launched with its inherent approach, attack on the problem of poverty by creating conditions of expanding economy.


The Seventh Plan (1985-90) sought to emphasise policies and programmes which would accelerate the growth in food grains production, increase employment opportunity and raise productivity-all these three immediate objectives were regarded central to the achievements of long term goals determined as far as the First Plan itself.

The Eighth Plan (1992-97) was approved at a time the country was going through a several economic crisis caused by a balance of payments, a rising debt burden, ever widening budget deficits, maintaining inflation and recession in industry. The Narsimha Rao Government initiated the process of fiscal reforms as also of economic reforms with a view to provide a new dynamism to the economic reforms.

The Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) was developed in the context of four important dimension of state policy i.e., quality of life, generation of productive employment, regional balance and self-reliance. This plan focussed on accelerated growth, recognizing a special role for agriculture for its stronger poverty, reducing and employment generating effects, which will be carried out over a period of 15 years.

Finally, the Tenth Plan (2002-07) provides an opportunity, at the start of the new millennium, to build upon the gains of the past and also to address the weaknesses that have emerged.