6th Five Year Plan
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Foreword || Preface || Planning Commission


Soon after its reconstitution in April, 1980, the Planning Commission started work 'on the Sixth Five Year Plan 1980—85. A number of working groups were set up to do the necessary preparatory work and consultations were held with the Central Ministries and the Consultative Committee of Members of Parliament on Planning. A basic paper entitled "Sixth Five Year Plan 1980—85—A Framework" was presented to the National Development Council on its 34th meeting held on August 30 and 31, 1980. The Council considered this paper and directed the Planning Commission to proceed with preparation of the final draft of the Sixth Plan. Thereafter, the Planning Commission held a series of wide ranging consultations with groups of economists and other social scientists, experts on rural development, eminent economic journalists, representatives of industry and trade, of trade unions, credit institutions, and others. The Framework was also discussed in two meetings of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Planning and was circulated to all Members of Parliament and to editors of newspaipers for comments and suggestions. Finally, extensive discussions were held with the States and the Union Territories on the State Plans for 1980—85. The Commission also benefited by the useful data collection and analytical work done by the Planning Commission in the past three years.

In the introduction to the Third Five Year Plan, Jawaharlal Nehru said "Planning is a continuous movement towards desired goals". While the precise formulation of Plan objectives adopted in successive plans has varied, the essential goals of Indian Planning have been growth, removal of poverty and achievement of self-reliance. The Commission has kept in view the pledges given to the people in formulating its proposals. Further it has used the consultative mechanism to elicit the views of as wide a cross section of national opinion as possible so as to evolve a broad national consensus on the objectives, strategies and programmes of the Sixth Plan. Its overriding concern has been to give practical shape to the nation's collective will for using all the latent resources and energies of the nation for an effective attack on poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

The final size of the public sector outlay has been fixed at Rs. 97,500 crores at 1979-80 prices. This outlay is in real term 80 per cent higher than the outlay in the Fifth Five Year Plan. The Commission would have liked wry much to be in a position to recommend larger outlays in several sectors. However, given the constraint on the size of the Plan, and keeping in view Plan objectives, an initially consistent and feasible inter-sectoral allocation has been adopted to achieve a growth rate of 5.2 per cent. It should become possible to review these allocations in the mid-Plan period as the combined efforts of the people and Government succeed in raising resources and productivity. While the outlays on all major sectors of the economy will at least be double in nominal terms compared to the Fifth Plan, the growth rate of outlays in rural development and irrigation are even higher. This reflects the very high priority given in the Sixth Plan to the objectives of employment generation and removal of poverty. Similarly, the very high emphasis on investment in the energy sector represents our resolve not to let energy availability become an undue constraint on the growth process. Substantial provisions have Ken made for the special component plans for Scheduled Castes and for tribal sub-plans. In addition, benefits will accrue to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the various sectoral programmes.

A substantial increase has been provided in Plan outlays for the special areas programmes in keeping with the Plan objective of reducing regional disparities. In view of the particular problems of the North Eastern Region, a substantial step up in the plans of the constituent units of the Region and of the North Eastern Council is envisaged. These outlays will be in addition to greatly enhanced levels of Central sector investments in the Region.

It has been possible to increase the size of the Sixth Plan over that envisaged in the Framework, partly on account of the determination expressed by some States during the course of final Plan discussions to exceed the estimates of additional resource mobilisation that had originally been envisaged, for them. On this basis, the share of States and Union Territories in the Plan is Rs. 50,250 crores, which works out to 51.54 per cent of the total outlay. Determined efforts will have to be made by the Centre and States to realise the target of additional resource mobilisation. This is an essential precondition for successful implementation of the Sixth Plan. This point needs particular emphasis, as a major task of economic policy in the Sixth Plan would be to create the necessary conditions for the mobilisation of resources in a non-inflationary manner. Inflation is the most regressive form of taxation. As the Framework points out, the Sixth Plan is being launched in difficult conditions. Fortunately, .the acute inflationary pressures which prevailed in 1979-80 have shown some signs of abatement in 1980-81. However, the situation cannot be said to be completely under control yet and a great deal of ingenuity and irnaginatio.i, not to speak of resolve, will be needed to device effective economic policies to reconcile the requirements of .growth and stability.

As regards the external environment, it must be recognised that the economy continues to be extremely vulnerable to increases in oil prices and to deterioration in our terms of trade generally. A major task facing the country is to reduce our dependence on energy imports and to promote exports and invisible earnings.. This is essential in order to achieve self-reliance. iSelf-reliance, as should be obvious, but often is not, does not necessarily mean self-sufficiency in all sectors of the economy. So long as the country is able to pay its way, it cannot be said to be dependent on others. This calls for an all out effort to accelerate the .rate. of growth of our exports to 9 to 10 per cent as envisaged. We must also rigorously promote import substitution in all those sectors of the. economy where we have a comparative advantage.

Meaningful solutions to the problems oC poverty, under-employment and unemployment can only be found within the framework of a rapidly expanding economy. To that end, every effort will have to be made to achieve the planned growth rate of 5.2 per cent in the Sixth Plan. We recognise however that even this rate of growth will have to be supplemented by more direct means of reducing the incidence of poverty, especially in the rural areas. Programmes of direct productive benefit to the poor involving the transfer of assets, the provision of inputs, credit, training and services, the generation of wage employment through the National Rural Employment Programme and the provision of social services through the Minimum Needs and other programmes, will be drawn together so that they focus upon the level of the individual household, and raise at least 3000 of the poorest households above the poverty line in each block during the Plan. Necessary changes in the extension and delivery services will be given the highest priority. Simultaneously, every effort will be made to secure voluntary adoption of the small family norm. In the ultimate analysis the success of our efforts in eliminating poverty and unemployment will depend on the extent to which we succeed in reducing the rate of population growth.

It need hardly be emphasised that the success of the Plan depends crucially on the efficiency, quality and texture of implementation. The challenge ahead is to achieve an all round improvement in production and efficiency, not merely in the functioning of the infrastructure or the public sector, but in all segments of national life. We must get the most out of the capital stock and human resources we have developed during the last thirty years. In this context, a special responsibility devolves on that segment of the population which has benefited disproportionately from planned development sc far and also on those who have been fortunate enough to enjoy superior access to education and professional skills.

Ultimately, the requisite effort and the required sacrifices will only be made if faith in the basic equity of our economic and social system is maintained, and the task which we set ourselves is bold enough to capture the imagination of our citizens. These considerations have implications both for the distributional objectives we build into our Plans, and for the total size of the resources we mobilise for them. It is to be hoped that the Sixth Plan 1980-85, despite all the constraints it faces, will not be found wanting on either of these criteria. The translation of the promise 'it holds out into actual performance, however, is something that can only be ensured by all of us collectively. It is only through sustained hardwork, discipline and self-restraint, particularly on the part of the more privileged sections of our society, a willingness to subordinate narrow sectional loyalties to wider national interests; in short; by recapturing some of the idealism and sense of adventure which inspired our freedom struggle, that we can hope to meet effectively the formidable challenges that lie ahead. Let us join forth and renew our determination to see through, to a successful conclusion, this gigantic enterprise of building a just, prosperous and modern India.

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Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

New Delhi
January 18, 1981

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