In this article, You will read Experience of Regional Planning: Five Year Plans – for UPSC IAS.

India’s Experience of Regional Planning- Five Year Plans

  • Roots of Planning can be traced to the National Panning Committee of INC under S.C. Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, and JL Nehru.
  • Post-independence Planning Commission was formed by the Government during 1950s played an important role in reducing regional disparities both at the micro and macro level.
  • The effort of the Planning Commission was also to bridge up the functional and spatial gap between underdeveloped and developed regions.
  • Planning Commission with the help of NDC and now NITI Ayog provides participation of every state from the country which is also helpful in resolving the issue related to natural resources, sharing of water and inter-state dispute.
  • The planning process initiated after the independence resulted into the construction of Multipurpose Projects for macro-level regions to recent advanced packages for Bundelkhand, Kuttanad, etc.
  • The planning at the Micro level included the regional projects for the development of underdeveloped regions. Some of the Micro-level planning project includes following:
Micro Level Planning

Some recent projects in Micro Level Regional Development Planning includes:

  • Granting the status of Special Category State to some backward and underdeveloped state.
  • Jhabua district watershed development program
  • Bharat Mala Project
  • Sagar Mala project

Five Year Plans and Regional Development

  • The objective of Five Year Plans with respect to regional development includes the following:
    • To increase national income and standard of living
    • To increase the level of industrialization both of heavy and basic sector.
    • To increase the employment potential of various sectors.
    • To decrease both horizontal (Region specific eg. BIMARU states) and vertical (CentreState Panchayat level) inequalities.
    • To launch the schemes for self-reliance and to decrease foreign aid.

First Five Year Plan (1951-1955)

  • First Five Year Plan was called “Balanced Development Plan” which was based on NURSE-RODNSTEN’S model which gave equal weightage to all sectors including investment in “social overhead capital” like health, education etc. This model was not very popular in India as India was a resource-scare country.
  • First Five Year Plan could ensure increase in income and an overall improvement in living standards of people. To handle this, the government initialled Regional Development Strategies by identifying agriculture as a prime goal.
  • Regional Development Strategies resulted in the launching of various Multi-Purpose Projects which were helpful in providing irrigation, flood control, energy supply, economic actives like fishing, aquaculture etc.
  • All states were divided into 5 broad divisions which is considered as 1st step towards regional planning.
  • Problem areas like Damodar Valley were recognized and the importance of resource planning at the regional level was recognized.
  • Since First Five Year Plan, just after independence, India faced many problems like resettlement of migrants from Pakistan, acute shortage of food, large-scale imports of food grains, high inflation. Due, to these factors the regional development planning shifted its focus on the agriculture sector.
  • Some of the large projects which were launched during the First Five Year Plan were Bhakhara Nangal, Hirakud, Rihand, Damodar Valley Corporation, etc.

Second Five Year Plan (1956-1961)

  • The objectives of the Second Five Year Plan were:
    • Increase in national income by 25%
    • Large scale industrialisation
    • Expansion of employment opportunities.
    • Reducing inequalities in income.
  • Second Five Year Plan was based on Nehru-Mahalonobis model. Growth pole strategy or trickle-down strategy was followed in this plan.
  • There was a focus on capital-intensive heavy industries with the expectation that growth will spread to other sectors as well.
  • On line of France, growth of industrial clusters in Bhilai, Durgapur, and Raurkela were developed for infrastructure development and enhancement of investment and capital formation by providing forward and backward integration.
forward and backward integration
  • Some of the outcomes of the Second Five Year Plan were:
    • Development of basic and heavy industries like Iron and Steel, Chemical fertilizers, heavy engineering industry, mechanical and building industry, etc.
    • Control in the rate of inflation up to some extent.
    • Agriculture was neglected and regional disparities increased.
    • Development during Second Five Year Plan was aimed at the establishment of a socialist pattern of society.
    • The rate of investment jumped to 11% in 1961 from 7% in 1955.

Third Five Year Plan (1961-1966)

  • The basic objectives of the Third Five Year Plan is given below:
    • Third Five Year Plan aimed to increase the national income over 5%
    • Third Five Year Plan aimed to secure self sufficiency in food grains within short span of time.
    • It was planned to increase the industrial base of basic industries.
    • Third Five Year Plan aimed to utilise man power resources and increase substantial employment opportunities to decrease regional disparities.
  • First and Second Five Year Plan helped in generating the required infrastructure and Indian economy entered the “take off stage” at the beginning of the Third Five Year Plan.
  • Therefore, this plan aimed at securing self reliance, self generating economy and self sustained growth.
  • For the first time Third Five Year Plan had a separate chapter in form of regional balance, both in the and inter-state with emphasis on Growth Centres and Growth Points for elimination of intra state disparities.
  • This resulted into identification of some of the basic industries like cement plants in Satana and Katni in Madhya Pradesh; fertilizer plants in Sindri in Jharkhand and Vidhisha in Madhya Pradesh; paper mills in Balrampur of Maharashtra and other included refineries petrochemicals, synthetic fibres etc.
  • During Third Five Year Plan the focus was shifted from development to defence at the later stage due to invasion of India by China in 1962 and Indo-Pak in 1965.

Annual Plan(1966-1969)

  • The period from 1966 to 1969 also known as Plan Holiday. The Annual Plans were framed in the backdrop of the following conditions:
    • India Pak conflict of 1965
    • Two successive year of severe drought in 1965-66 and 1966-67.
    • Devaluation of currency.
    • General rise in prices
    • Erosion of resources for plan purpose.
    • Shortage of food grains which led to the import dependence on USA under PL480 program.
  • A new agricultural strategy was implemented. It involved the distribution of highyielding varieties of seeds, extensive use of fertilizers, exploitation of irrigation potential and soil conservation measures.

Fourth Five Year Plan( 1969-1974)

  • Fourth Five Year Plan was a watershed year under regional development planning in India o Special programs like Drought Prone Area Program (DADP) were launched during this period.
  • Small Farmer Development Agency (SFDA) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) were established during Fourth Five Year Plan.
  • Pilot initiative for rural employment program, technical and financial program was launched during this program.
  • Fourth Five Year Plan laid emphasis on backward area such as Bundelkhand and Dandkaranya development project with overall purpose of self sustaining growth.
  • Provisions were made to decrease economic concentration of wealth to promote equality.

Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-1979)

  • Fifth Five Year Plan adopted the special area approach with overall emphasis on self reliance and decrease in poverty by eliminating the limitation of regional disparity.
  • Special area approach includes resource and problem oriented area program like CADP, HADP, targeted group oriented program like Tribal Area Development Program and incentive based programs like various subsidies provided to farmers.
  • Command Area Development programme(CADP):
    • Command Area Development programme was launched to narrow the gap between irrigation potential created and actually utilized in major and medium irrigation schemes.
    • This scheme was supposed to develop adequate delivery of the irrigation water up to the fields. A Command Area Development Authority was established to maximize the productivity in the irrigation command areas through an integrated approach with the following components:
    • Construction of field channels and field drains
    • Land shaping wherever necessary
    • Introduction of rotational supply of water to ensure equitable and assured distribution to individual farm holdings.
  • Medium and Minor irrigation projects were launched to meet requirements of draught affected areas.
  • Special plans were prepared for afforestation, soil conservation, orchards, livestock, dairy farming, road construction, drinking water etc.

Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-1985)

  • Sixth Five Year Plan was launched by two different governments at two different times which is given below:
    • From 1978 to 1983: During this phase Janta Government was in power. The major objectives of the plan was:
      • Increase in employment.
      • Development of agriculture and allied activities.
      • Incentives for small and cottage industries.
      • Increase in income of low income group
      • Various poverty alleviation programs
      • Increase in programs related to employment generation in rural areas and unorganised sector to eliminate regional disparities in form of rural-urban divide.
    • Various rural development programs like National Rural Employment Generation Program (NREGP), Rural Landless Employment Generation Program (RLEGP), and Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) were launched.
    • Comprehensive crop insurance scheme was initiated in last year of 6th Five Year Plan.
    • Sixth Five Year Plan strengthened agriculture and industrial base.
    • Stress was laid on tackling inter related problem using systematic approach with focus on all sectors and active involvement of people at local level.

Seventh Five Year Plan (1985-1990):

  • It emphasised on selective use and development of local technology and capacity building at local level.
  • Government merged NREP and RLRGP into Jawahar Rojgar Yojana.
  • Employment generation programs were comprehensively initiated by government with continuation of special area development.
  • During this plan planners recognised settlements and their development was a prime goal in regional development strategy.
  • Seventh Five Year Plan aimed at rapid growth in food grains production, increase in employment opportunity, modernisation and self reliance.

Annual Plan(1989-1991)

  • The political situation in 1990-1992 was fast changing. No plan was there due to political uncertainties.
  • The annual plans of 1989-1991 focused on employment generation and social transformation.
  • It was the beginning of privatization and liberalization in India.

Eight Five Year Plan( 1992-1997)

  • Eight Five Year Plan resulted in modern approach of regional planning which says that “growth is to be achieved in such way that regional disparity should be reduced and benefit of this growth should be dispersed or distributed”.
  • Government for this purpose initiated formation of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), National Water Mission (NWM), development of Mega Cities, concept of conurbation, various schemes for infrastructure development, launching of Mahila Samridhhi Yojana.
  • The plan objective of Eight Five Year Plan was:
    • Faster economic growth
    • Faster growth of agriculture
    • Growth of manufacturing and allied sector
    • Growth in exports and imports.
    • Increase in employment opportunity and full employment by end of 20th century
    • Control population growth with cooperation of people.
    • Wider availability of drinking water and Primary Health Centre.
    • Development of agriculture for self reliance in food grains and export of agricultural commodities.
    • Strengthen infrastructure (power, transport, communication, irrigation) to sustain tempo of growth.

Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002)

  • Ninth Five Year Plan for the first time provided the indication of overall regional planning and implementation of union schemes including new areas for development like :
    • Sanitation program
    • Education program
    • Food security programmes like Mid Day Meal Scheme
    • Rural connectivity program
    • Allied agricultural activities and promotion of agro and cottage based industries.
  • Ninth Five Year Plan focused on seven basic minimum services:
    • Safe drinking water
    • Primary Heath Care Centres
    • Universalisation of primary education
    • Public housing assistance to shelter less families
    • Nutritional support to children
    • Connectivity of villages
    • Streamlining of PDS system
  • Ninth Five Year Plan gave priority to agriculture and rural development, population control, environmental stability, empowerment of women and backward class, Panchayati Raj Institution and Cooperatives. Focus was also given to strengthening of Forex reserves.

Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007)

  • Tenth Five Year Plan continued the strategy adopted by 9th FYP by initiating programmes like National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Rural Mission, and Rajiv Awas Yojana.
  • Tenth Five Year Plan focused on creation of more jobs and skill development schemes were launched.
  • Bharat Nirman Scheme was launched for holistic application of regional development eliminating rural-urban divide.
  • Following areas were on top priority in Tenth Five Year Plan:
    • Reduction in poverty
    • Reduction in decadal population growth
    • Growth in gainful employment
    • Reduction in gender gap in literacy and wage rate by 50%.
    • Increase in literacy from 65% to 75%
    • Water for all villages
    • Reduction in Infant mortality Rate from 72 in 2002 to 45 in 2007.
    • Increase in forest cover from 14% in 200 to 25% in 2007.
    • Cleaning of major polluted rivers.

Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012)

  • Eleventh Five Year Plan was a holistic plan targeted towards inclusive growth to fill the loopholes in all existing regional development programs like Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana which was converted into National Livelihood Mission
  • Eleventh Five Year Plan focused on Command Area and watershed management program and Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program for the expansion of irrigation facilities.
  • In the area of power sector there was initiation of smart grid and accelerated power generation program. Development of renewable energy resources was also focused.
  • There was a comprehensive strategy for inclusive development which covered 26 major indices of performance relating to poverty, health, education, women and children, infrastructure and environment.
  • Rajiv Swashtha Bima Yojana provided insurance cover to BPL families
  • In recent year in order to create development programmes more participatory and holistic, watershed programmes which can take care of ecological issues, equality issues, employment issues, and economic issues are based on grass root participation.

12th Five Year Plan– Overview And Objectives

  • India was left with a crippling economy when the British left. After Independence, India needed well planned strategies to sustain and grow the economy and compete with other developing countries
  • In 1947 a committee on economic planning was formed under the chairmanship of Pundit J. L. Nehru, which suggested the plan to constitute a Planning Commission. On March 1950, The Planning Commission was set up by a Resolution of the Government of India to promote economic growth, efficient exploitation of country`s resources, and increasing business and employment opportunities.
Five Year Plan
  • On 4 October, the government of India approved the 12th five-year plan (2012-17) that aims to achieve the annual average economic growth rate of 8.2 percent, down from 9 percent (Eleventh plan 2007-12).
  • The aim of the 12th Five Year Plan is to achieve “faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth”. For this purpose, it seeks to achieve 4% growth in the agriculture sector and 10% in the manufacturing sector. The total budget of the 12th Five Year plan has been estimated at Rs.47.7 lakh crore which is 135 percent more than that for the 11th Five year Plan (2007-12).
  • The 12th Five Year Plan presents three scenarios:
    • Strong Inclusive Growth – 8% growth in GDP
    • Insufficient Action – 6% to 6.5% growth in GDP
    • Policy logjam – 5% to 5.5% growth in GDP
  • Broad Objectives of 12th Five Year Plan:
    • To reduce poverty
    • To improve regional equality across states and within states
    • To improve living conditions for SCs, STs, OBCs, Minorities
    • To generate attractive employment opportunities for Indian youth
    • To eliminate gender gaps
  • 12th Five Year Plan lists various growth indicators as follows:
    • It aims at an average GDP growth rate of 8%
    • It seeks to achieve 4% growth in the agricultural sector
    • It aims at reducing head-count poverty by 10%
    • It aims at generating 50 million work opportunities in the non-farm sector and providing skill certifications
    • It aims at eliminating gender and social gap in education
    • Reducing Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to 25, Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) to 100, and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.1
    • Increasing infrastructure investment to 9% of GDP
    • Achieving universal road connectivity and access to power for all villages
    • Provision of banking services for 90% of households
    • Major welfare benefits and subsidies via Aadhaar card
    • Secondary Education for all by 2017
    • Increase public spending from 1% (11 plan) to 2.5% of GDP by the end of 12
    • Development of a National Action Plan for Climate Change to achieve target of 20% to 25% reduction in emission levels by 2020
    • Getting 5 Indian universities in the list of top 200 universities in the world
    • For the purpose of providing electricity to households it aims at addition of 88,000 MW electricity generation capacities and 55,000 MW of renewable energy capacity.
    • Eliminate gender and social gap in school enrollment
    • Improving child sex ratio (0-6) to 950
    • Reducing under nutrition among children aged 0-3 to half of the NFHS-3 level
    • Increasing Gross Irrigated area from 90 million hectares to 103 million hectares
    • Connecting all villages with all-weather roads and upgrading national and state highways to minimum two-lane standard
    • Complete Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor
    • Increase rural tele-density to 70%, currently, it is 40.81%
    • Ensuring 50% of rural population has access to 40 IPCD piped drinking water supply and 50% of Gram Panchayat achieve Nirmal Gram Status
    • Increasing Green Cover (as measured by Satellite Imagery) by 1 million hectare every year
    • It has proposed a modified Accelerated Irrigation benefits program and expanded Watershed Management project

Success/Achievements Of Five Year Plans

  • Although most of the Five Year Plan failed to achieve the fixed targets, yet constructive role played by these plans in socio-economic development of country can’t be underestimated.
  • Major role played by Five Year Plans are:
    • Self sufficiency in food grains.
    • Increase in per capita consumption
    • Growth poles established during Second Five Year Plan are now producing good results by providing base for industrialization in public and private sectors.
    • National income has increase by over 7 times while GDP has increased by over 8 times.
    • There has been tremendous development in infrastructure like that of energy, irrigation, communication, power and transportation.
    • There has been diversification of export and import substitution.
    • Rural employment opportunity increased substantially with focus on women empowerment.
    • Five Year Plans helped in substantial reduction of Rural to Urban migration.
    • The life expectancy increased from 37 in 1951 to 68 in 2014.
    • Five Year Plans led to the huge improvement in education system and increase in literacy rate from 18% in 1951 to 74 % in 2011.
    • Five Year Plans led to increase in rank of India in HDI index.
    • There was overall achievement in agriculture sector through Green Revolution, White Revolution, Blue Revolution, etc.
    • There was tremendous development in Science and Technology, Space Program, Nuclear power.
  • Limitation of Five Year Plans
    • The regional planners witnessed failure of Five Year Plan because of following reasons:
      • Poor land reforms and land redistribution.
      • Untouchability was not eradicated fully.
      • Racial discrimination between North East and mainland still exists.
      • Females not adequately represented both at local level and national level.
      • Major improvement in sex ratio was not witnessed; instead there was a general decline. It was 946 in 1951 and 940 in 2011.
      • One third population of India is still illiterate.
      • Implementation of growth strategies provides more development of black money, corruption, red tapism instead of growth.
      • Increase inequality in income and health outcomes was not achieved.
      • Absolute number of unemployed youth increased and need for skill development program was recognized in 11th Five Year Plan due to rising demographic dividend.
      • In India one fourth of the population is still under Poverty Line.
      • Industrial sickness due to over reliance on public sector industries.
      • Due to failure in achieving of balanced regional development there was rise of Naxalism, demand for separate states, secessionist movement in North East.
      • Five Year Plans failed to reduce hunger, malnutrition, child labor, social injustice.

Limitations Of Five Year Plans

  • Development plans, welfare programs, infrastructure development and sectoral outlays lacked financial planning. Not much thought was given to strategy for generating funds and to ensure their efficient usage.
  • Corruption and leakages are a consequence of lack of financial planning. Therefore, benefits of Five Year Plan did not fructify.
  • Development is possible only by income generation which requires job and employment. Agriculture and manufacturing were neglected. The productivity and efficiency of MGNREGA was low and less productive assets were created.
  • Our programs lack spatial dimensions. Traditionally India’s planning has been sectoral in nature. The investments are sector specific and lack special content. That is why Green Revolution increased regional disparities and industries remained confined to few areas such as Gujarat, Maharashtra etc.
  • Growth Pole theory was used but in absence of functional linkages and non existence of growth spread channels the real spread of growth did not happen aggravating the disparities in regional development.
Phases of planning 1
  • First time at regional level planning was used by USA in Tennessee river Valley Planning which was used for:
    • Flood control
    • Soil conservation
    • Providing electricity
    • Industrial development
    • Forest and wildlife conservation
    • Town planning
    • Construction of road and rails.
    • Agriculture practice and flood control.
  • The Tennessee River Valley Planning inspired Damodar Valley Corporation Planning (1948) in India and Volta river project in Ghana (1966).
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments