Basic Objectives: Each plan, beginning with the First Plan in 1951, listed the basic objectives of India’s development. These objectives provide so to say the guiding principles of Indian planning. Within this framework, each Five Year Plan formulated objectives keeping in view the problems arising from the new constraints and new possibilities.
This gave rise to what may be called, the immediate objectives of each plan. These objectives have, however, been subservient to the basic or common objectives. We shall describe these basic objectives in detail. Growth: The first and the foremost objective of Indian plans is the growth of the economy. The target of growth rate has varied between 2.1% in First Plan to 9% in the Eleventh Plan. Thus, growth target has bee n increasing in subsequent plans.
The growth rate aimed at has, therefore, been higher than the population, growth. The objective also envisages a certain pattern of growth. Of the contemplated increase in the two types of goods, namely consumption goods and capital goods, the emphasis has so far been on a faster rise in capital goods. This was intended to step-up sharply the productive capacity of the country. Modernisation: Another objective is to modernise the economy. This means such structural and institutional changes in the economic activities that can change the feudal and colonial economy into a progressive and independent economy.
One, for instance, is a shift in the composition of production so that industries contribute a much larger proportion to national income relative to that of agriculture. Another component of modernisation is the development of a diversified economy that produces a large variety of goods as in developed economies. There are then institutional changes to provide a progressive frame for the development of the economy. These include a variety of efforts. The institution of public enterprises is, for example, intended largely to supply infrastructural services and social services. The setting up of financial institutions, and a vast expansion of modern banks, are intended to provide long-term, medium-term and short-term finances.
Self-reliance: The third major objective is to make the economy self-reliant. This is to ensure a more equal relationship with the world economies, and to reduce our vulnerability to international pressures and disturbances. This objective has several dimensions. One, for example, is the reduction and ultimately elimination of dependence on foreign aids. The objective also includes expansion and diversification of exports so that we are able to earn enough foreign exchange to pay for imports from our own earnings of foreign exchange. Social Justice: This objective is to render social justice to the poor of the country.
This has three principal dimensions. First, improving the living standards of the weaker sections of the population such as landless agricultural labourers, artisans, members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, etc. Second, the reduction in the inequalities in the asset-distribution particularly in the rural areas where land, the principal source of living, for many is very unevenly distributed. Third, the reduction in the regional state inequalities.