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Goals of Five Year Plans

Any plan should have specific goals which it should aim to fulfill. The goals of the five year plans are:
  • Growth
  • Modernization
  • Self reliance
  • Equity
It has to be kept in mind that all the five year plans so far have not given equal importance to all the four goals primarily due to the limited resources. In every plan, a choice has been made about which goal is to be given basic importance. The planners, however have to ensure that the policies of the plans do not contradict any of the four goals, as far as possible.

Let us now see the four goals in detail

Growth refers to the increase in the production capacity of our country i.e production of output goods and also the increase of services within the country. This means a large stock of productive capital or a large quantity of supporting services like transport and banking or an increase in the efficiency of the productive capital and services of the country. In economics, the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) is a good indicator of the economic growth of a nation. The GDP is the market value of all the goods and services produced in a country during a year. GDP can be thought of as a bar of chocolate or piece of cake. Growth is the increase in the size of the chocolate or cake. If the chocolate or cake is bigger, more people can have and enjoy it. In the words of the first five year plan, it is necessary to produce more goods and services if the people of India are to enjoy a more rich and varied life.

The different sectors of the economy, namely the agricultural sector, the service sector and the industrial sector are considered when the GDP is derived. The structural composition of the economy is the contribution made by each of these sectors. The contribution of each sector differs from nation to nation, while in some the contribution by the service sector is more, in some the contribution by agriculture is more.

In order to increase the production of goods and services, the producers have to use new technology. Adoption of new technology is modernization. For example, farmers can use a new hybrid seed variety instead of the old ones to increase crop yield.

Modernisation just not refer to just adoption of new technology, it also refers to changes in the thinking and social outlook of the people of our country. Giving equal rights to women is an example of modernization. In a traditional society, women are restricted to do only household chores, whereas in a modern society they are given opportunities to work in all the sectors like banking, schools, factories etc. This kind of modernization makes a society more civilized and prosperous.

Self Reliance
The economic growth and modernization of a nation can be promoted in two ways:
  1. Using resources imported from other nations.
  2. Using its own resources
The first seven five year plans stressed and gave a lot of weightage to self reliance meaning avoiding import of goods which can be produced in our country itself. This policy was considered essential in a bid to reduce our dependence on other nations, mostly for food. A newly independent nation would obviously stress on the need for self reliance. It was also feared that a dependence on foreign nations would make our sovereignty vulnerable.

All the above three mentioned goals by themselves would not lead to the betterment of the standard of living of the people of a nation unless there is equality. If modernization, growth and self -reliance does not reach the poorer sections of a country, then only the rich would enjoy the benefits of economic prosperity. So apart from modernity, growth and self-reliance, every Indian should be able to meet his or her basic needs like food, clothing, housing, education and healthcare. Inequality in the distribution of wealth and economic prosperity had to be reduced.

We will now see how the first seven five year plans between 1950-1970 attempted to attain the four goals and their extent of success in the fields of agriculture, industry and trade.

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