India’s First-Five year Plan (1951–1956)

First Five-Year Plan, India faced with the problem of influx of refugees, severe food shortage and mounting inflation. Moreover, there was disequilibrium in the economy caused by the Second World War as well as the partition. The highest priority was given to agriculture to overcome the food crisis and to curb inflation.

The first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru presented the First Five-Year Plan to the Parliament of India and needed urgent attention. The First Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 which mainly focused in development of the primary sector.

India’s First Five-Year plan was a brave effort. The success achieved in many fields was remarkable and, in many cases, the plan targets were exceeded.

Objectives of First Five-Year Plan

  1. To increase food production.
  2. To fully utilize available raw materials,
  3. To correct the disequilibrium in the economy which was created by the Second World War (1939-45) and partition of India.
  4. To check inflationary pressure.
  5. To build economic overheads such as roads, railways, irrigation, power, etc.
  6. To reduce inequalities in income and wealth.

Achievements of First Five-Year Plan

  1. Although the target for national income growth was only an 11% increase, the actual increase was 18% from Rs. 8850 crore the national income increased to Rs. 10,480 crore by the end of the first plan. Per capita income went up by 11%.
  2. Food production rise from 52.2 million tonnes in 1951-52 to 65.8 million tonnes in 1955-56, whereas the plan target was only 61.6 million tonnes.
  3. Industrial production increased during the plan period. Production of mill-made cloth and locomotives exceeded the plan targets. Many new industries like oil refining, ship-building, aircraft, railway, were established during the plan.
  4. There was an increase of about 33% in the number of students attending primary schools. A sum of Rs. 101 crore was spent on health services, and a large number of hospitals and dispensaries were opened.
  5. The railway system was strengthened. 380 miles of new lines were added. 430 miles of lines which were dismantled during the Second World War was restored. Highways were increased by 636 miles with 30 major bridges and there was improvement of 4000 miles of existing roads.
  6. The first plan period did not cause any significant inflationary pressure on the economy. This was due to increased production, particularly in the agricultural sector. The price level at the end of the plan was 13% lower than what it was when it commenced.