On 8th December 1951 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru presented the first ever five year plan of India in the parliament and the journey of five year plans began. Though the bill was presented in December, the plan duration was considered from 1st April 1951 to 31st March 1956.  

Some key points

  • National Development Council gave final approval to all the five year plans but it was not established during the first five year plan. Hence this was the only plan which started without the approval of NDC.
  • This was the only plan which showed decrease in general level of prices of commodities.

Analysis of the first five year plan

  • Chairman: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Vice-chairman: Gulzarilal Nanda
  • Main Objectives: 1) To recover from the impacts of second world war and partition of India. 2) To bring the inflation rate under control.
  • This plan was also known as Revival Plan. The plan was based on Harrod-Domar model of high investment.
  • To reduce the import of food grains priority was given to agricultural sector to increase the production.
  • Total estimated public expenditure was Rs. 2378 crore which was distributed as 31% to agriculture, 12% to energy sector, 6% to industries, 27% to transport, 22% for social sector schemes.
  • A total of Rs. 1800 crore was invested in private sector. Despite the low investment in industries it showed a slow and steady progress due to private players.
  • Estimated GDP growth target was 2.1% but actual GDP growth achieved was 3.5%. Overall the first five year plan was a good start for the Indian Economy.     

Some important political events during the period of the first five year plan

  • The first ever elections of free India were conducted in 1951-1952 following the enactment of the Constitution of India. Sukumar Sen was the first election commissioner of India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of India.
  • India is the only country in the which had universal adult franchise from the first election itself.
  • On 16th December 1952 Potti Shriramalu died during the hunger strike for the demand of creation of Andhra state for Telagu speaking people. This led to violent mass protests. Due to increasing political pressure, on 1st October 1953 Andhra state was created on linguistic basis.
  • Under the chairmanship of supreme court judge Fazl Ali, the State Reorganisation Commission was set up in 1953. Pandit Hrudaynath Kunzru and K. M. Pannikar were the members of the commission. The commission submitted its report on 30th September 1955. Later on, the recommendations of the report were implemented from 1st November 1956.
  • In 1956 India signed an agreement with America under the Public Law 480 or Food for Peace, popularly known as P.L. 480. As per the agreement America supplied food grains to India but the grains supplied were of very low quality and India was mocked for it's inability to achieve food security.          

Developmental work and achievements of the first five year plan

  • The Industries Development and Regulation act of 1951 was passed by the parliament of India.
  • In September 1951 the first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was set up at Kharagpur, West Bengal.
  • Fertilizer Corporation of India (FCIL), the first fertilizer factory of India was established at Sindri, Dhanbad District, Jharkhand in October 1951.
  • In 1953 energy sector company Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited BHEL was established at Bhopal. 
  • On 10th March 1954 with the help of WHO and UNICEF, the Hindustan Antibiotics was established at Pimpari Chinchwad, Pune.
  • On 5th January 1955, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation Of India (ICICI) was established as a public sector private company under the Industries Regulation Act 1951.
  • On 1st July 1955 Imperial Bank was nationalized and renamed as the State Bank Of India.
  • University Grants Commission (UGC) was established in 1956. It's headquarters is at New Delhi. It has six regional offices at Pune, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hydrabad, Guwahati and Bhopal.  
  • On 25th April 1954 India and Nepal signed a pact to build Kosi Dam on Kosi river.
  • On 17th November 1955 the construction of Bhakra-Nangal dam was started on Sutlaj river.
  • Hirakud dam which is world's longest man made earthen dam was constructed during this plan on Mahanadi river and completed in 1957.
  • Highly ambitious Damodar valley project was approved during this plan under which four dams were build. 1) Tilayya dam on Barakar river 2) Maithon dam on Barakar river 3) Panshet dam on Damodar river 4) Konar dam on Konar river.     

Posted By

Prabhat Sir