Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-1979)
The presentation of the draft Fifth Plan unfortunately coincided with a major upheaval on theinternational economic scene which profoundly affected developed and developing countries.Economists and political leaders all over the world were reminded of the collapse of theinternational economic order in the thirties. The sharp increase in the prices of food, fertilisers andoil seriously upset the assumptions on which the draft Fifth Plan had been framed. These newdevelopments also lent urgency to a time-bound programme of action in order to achieve ameasure of self-reliance in food and energy. All other objectives had to be subordinated to thecontrol of inflationary pressures caused by domestic as well as international factors. In the middleof 1974-75 we formulated an anti-inflationary programme which called for several hard decisionson the part of Central and State Governments. Our success in curbing inflation attracted world-wide notice.The new economic programme launched last year served to focus attention on those elements inour Plan which had the twin objectives of increasing production and promoting social justice. Thedrive against economic offences and the general atmosphere of discipline and efficiency whichnational emergency helped to foster led to a significant and all-round improvement in economicperformance. The results are now tangible. The production of foodgrains has touched an all-timerecord of over 118 million tonnes. Almost all parts of the country have contributed to this increaseand all sections of the farming community have benefited. There was striking improvement in theoperation of power plants and in the production of coal, steel and fertilisers. In some sectors of the economy we were faced with the problem of surpluses rather than shortages. We haveachieved a major break-through on the oil front. The potential of Bombay High has been firmlyestablished and commercial production has commenced. Our technologists can legitimately beproud of this achievement. The containment of domestic inflation and a well articulated exporteffort helped to increase our exports by over 18% in 1975-76 at a time when there was a generaldecline in the volume of international trade. Larger export earnings, together with a massiveincrease in inward remittances, have led to a welcome accretion to our foreign exchangereserves.These encouraging trends have enabled us to finalise the Fifth Plan. The formulation andexecution of developmental programmes can now take place within a longer time frame. TheDeputy Chairman and his colleagues have worked hard to put together a coherent and feasiblePlan. In essence, the Plan seeks to make up, to the maximum extent possible, for the loss of momentum suffered in the first year of the Plan.We are glad that after a hesitant start we hava been able to finalise the Plan. However it would bequite wrong to allege that we have had a Plan holiday. Work has begun on most of the schemesincluded in the Plan. We have forged ahead particularly in key sectors like agriculture, irrigationand energy. The document which the Planning Commission has now presented to us is, in asense, a mid-term review of the Plan. The Commission has taken this opportunity to assess theprogress already made in crucial sectors and to allocate adequate funds, in the remaining twoyears of the Plan, for on-going programmes. At the same time, keeping the long-term perspectivein view, reasonable provision has been made for new starts and for some projects with longgestation periods.Our needs are so vast that a Plan, howsoever big, will always fall short of expectations. It isunderstandable that Central Ministries, State Governments and public enterprises should wantlarger provisions for their programmes. In the last two decades, we have acquired considerablecapability in implementing irrigation, power and industrial projects. It has not always beenpossible to match these capabilities with the necessary physical and financial resources.