Planning In India
India gained independence from the foreign yoke on 15th August 1947. Our great national leaders were keen to develop the country in a planned way. So, the five-year plans came into existence. The main objective behind planning was to provide the minimum level of living, raising the standard of living through/ by the abolition of poverty, reduction in inequalities of income and annihilation of concentration of economic powers. Through planning, the government transforms the national economy in such a way that it fulfills the pre-determined social and economic goals adequately within a stipulated period. Planning is the most effective instrument for regulating economic activities and gearing up the pace of a growing economy for creating a prosperous society. Self-sufficiency and substantial reduction in alien assistance are the sole matters (concerns) of planning.
India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was a socialist in outlook took all strains and pains in introducing five-year plans for the growth of the nation on all fronts. He longed to make the Indian nation prosperous. The Planning Commission was established in India in March 1950. Under his chairmanship for the formulation and launching of plans. The First Five-Year Plan was launched in 1951 with a total outlay of Rs. 2,000 crores. it was meant for ground-work towards achieving self-sufficiency in food grains and other agricultural products, transport and power. Its period was from 1951-52 to 1955-56. The period of the Second Five-Year Plan was 1956-57 to 1960-61. Its total outlay was Rs. 7,200 crores. This plan laid emphasis on industry and the public sector. (Such heavy industries as require an enormous investment and were vital for the nation, as a whole were brought under Public Sector. The government itself manages the Public Sector.)
Self-sufficiency in food grains, harnessing of the man-power for growth of national income and expansion of industry were envisaged in the third plan (1961-62 to 1965-66). This plan proved a mile-stone of progress in the country because it disfavored the dependence on imported food grains and other raw-material to run our industry.
The first three Five-Year Plans resulted in all-round progress, despite heavy odds. Thereafter, the three annual plans were necessitated due to the Indo-Pak war, erosion of resources, price-hike and successive drought years.
The period of the Fourth Plan was from 1966-67 to 1971-72. Its outlay was Rs. 24,882 crores. It laid stress on the increase of per capita income to the tune of 16% per annum. The growth with stability and progressive self-reliance, increase in industrial output and agricultural production were its principal objectives.
The plan was quite successful in achieving these objectives. The fifth Five Year Plan was launched in 1974. Its outlay was PS. 69,000 crores. It aimed at the removal of poverty and t attainment of economic self-reliance, unfortunately, the smooth functioning of the plan got disrupted due to the antagonistic attitude of the Janata Party which came to power in elections held in 1977. The Party tried to amend the criterion, including the duration of the plan. Their yearly planning could not bring tangible and direct results. Hence the plan proved futile and caused a sort of derailment. The National Development Council approved the Sixth Plan of February 24, 1981, but its period was counted from 1980. Its major objectives were to attain self-reliance by ensuring speedy development of the economy, reduction in foreign loans and imports, the opening of employment schemes and promotion of exports. Rural development was accorded special importance. It was the most ambitious plan since it involved the interest of the masses.
The Seventh Plan envisages a total investment of Rs. 3,22,366 crores. Its vital goals are (l) growth in food-grains production, (2) increase in employment opportunities, and (3) rise in productivity.
The Eighth Plan stressed the need for economic reforms and restructuring of the economy by infusing economic efficiency in the working of the public sector. The objectives of the current ninth plan (1997-2000) are a priority to agriculture and rural development, eradication of poverty and generating productive employment, accelerating the growth rate and providing the minimum basic services to all.
The country has made remarkable progress in the course of the Plans in the fields of agriculture, industry, and defense. Steps are also being taken to banish unemployment, curb black- marketing and smuggle and control the growing population.
India is a vast and developing country. It is the second-largest country in the world. “though her resources are dwindling and depleting yet her population is increasing fast. As a result, the economists are sounding warning bells. The growing population will result in the growing pressure on our economic resources. We are bound to face the acute problem of food. clothing, shelter, employment, and education. The advancement in the field of medical science has reduced the mortality rate but the rate of birth continues almost the same. As a result, all of our plans and developmental schemes have become blunt (ineffective).
Family planning measures can cause the desired relief. The aim of family planning is to reduce the birth-rate and to bring about family welfare. Our government is pursuing the program of mass education and motivation. This voluntary program covers health, maternity and child care; nutrition and family welfare.
In India, the birth control movement is two decades older than the family planning program. The educated and enlightened people had grown conscious of the fact that a small family is actually a happy family. Family planning was introduced during the First Five Year Plan. It was on a modest scale with a clinical approach during the second Five Year Plan. This program was reorganized during the third plan. A full-fledged Department of Family Planning was established at the Centre in 1966. This program was given high priority during the fourth and fifth plans. The program became expanded, consolidated and integrated. All the means of communication were extensively used for disseminating knowledge about family planning and family welfare. Population education is also imparted at schools and colleges to make the norm of small family acceptable. The Sixth Plan provided a sum of Rs. 1010 crores for family planning programs.
The Centre provides full help to the state governments to implement these programs. The primary health centers and sub-centers are doing a praise-worthy service in this field. A great amount of money is being spent to popularize the family Planning measures among young couples, various hospitals, health centers, and dispensaries are distributing Nirodhs and oral pills, etc. freely. If all the young couples of reproductive ages use contraceptive measures, they can make this program successful. The program of causing abortion is also implemented. Legalized abortion also helps the birth control program. A number of hospitals now provide facilities for sterilization and tubectomy operations. Many incentives are given to those people who undergo these operations voluntarily.
The success of family planning programmed in India wholly depends upon its voluntary acceptance by the people. We hope the broad-based mass education and motivation program will prove effective. In that case, our country will achieve the target of sixty percent protection in the reproductive age group by the end of the year 2000. Even the illiterate and superstitious people should also be inspired to co-operate in this noble and national cause.
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