India's New Five-Year Plan

Courtesy Reuters

INDIA'S Second Five-Year Plan commenced on the first of April 1956. Largely under the Prime Minister's personal direction, a Plan Frame for the Second Plan had been made available fully 12 months earlier and during that year there was much lively debate on its contents.[i] But the final document presented to Parliament on May 15, 1956, was based substantially on the original estimates. This is largely because the range of choice at this time is remarkably small, both in a political and economic sense.

Those who read into India's Second Plan a leftist turn must appreciate this point: that the size of the Plan and its structure have been fixed by non-ideological considerations.[ii] While undue emphasis was placed on controls, and although it certainly restricted private organized industry, it was not totalitarian. In any case, the major bias against the private sector has been corrected; under the new Industrial Policy Resolution, Indian organized industry has a substantial and honored place.

The Second Plan is no more based on ideology than the First was. True, the debate concerning the Socialistic pattern of society continues, but anyone who knows the capacities of the private and public sectors in the Indian economy knows that this is really a minor issue. The private sector is fully extended and its order books are largely filled for the next five years. On its own account, organized industry will probably have a seventh of the Plan and will be acting as agent of the public sector perhaps for another third. Housing and other activities in the private sector might account for still another third. It is doubtful if the national income accruing from the activities of the private sector will be less than 80 percent at the end of the Plan, as against about 90 percent today. In other words, at the end of this Plan, based (as one is all too frequently reminded in the final document) on the concept of a Socialistic pattern of society, the Indian Union may well be less "

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