|7th Five Year Plan (Vol-1)||<< Back to Index|
It is now almost four decades since we first embarked on the path of planned economic development. Over these years the planning process has grown in depth and sophistication and today it is an integral part of our national polity. It has helped to evolve a national consensus on how to pursue our basic objectives of removing poverty, building a strong and self-reliant economy and creating a social system based on equity and justice. The plan outlines our objectives and priorities for the next five years, within a longer term perspective of economic and social development. It embodies the collective aspirations of our people, as well as the commitment of Government to achieve specific goals and targets.
The economy enters the Seventh Plan period in a strong position because of the success of the Sixth Plan. The rate of growth of GDP has accelerated over the past decade or so, and the Sixth Plan growth target of about 5 per cent has been achieved. Agricultural performance has been particularly impressive, specially in foodgrains. Steady growth in agriculture, reinforced by special schemes to help the weaker sections, has brought about a significant reduction in the percentage of the population below the poverty line. The rate of inflation has been kept under control and the balance of payments has been successfully managed despite an unfavourable external environment. These were years in which the world economy experienced the worst recession since the thirties and most developing countries, and even industrialised countries, faced severe economic difficulties. The Indian economy has emerged stronger, with an acceleration in growth.
The Seventh Plan will build on these strong foundations. It seeks to maintain the momentum of growth in the economy while redoubling our efforts to remove poverty. Economic growth must be accompanied by social justice and by the removal of age-old social barriers that oppress the weak. This is the essence of our concept of socialism. The Plan reaffirms our commitment to this ideal. The Plan also seeks to push the process of economic and technological modernisation of the economy further forward. This is essential if we are to build true self-reliance. Self-reliance does not mean autarchy. It means the development of a strong, independent national economy, dealing extensively with the world, but dealing with it on equal terms.
Agriculture remains the core of our economy. It supports the largest number of our people and it is here that the largest volume of productive employment can be generated. Faster agricultural growth is necessary to provide the raw materials and expanding markets needed for successful industrialisation. Our agricultural strategy has achieved remarkable success over the past decade and we must pursue it with greater vigour in the Seventh Plan. The Plan represents a comprehensive strategy for agricultural development aimed at achieving a growth rate of 4 per cent per year in agricultural production. We must bring about institutional changes, including land reforms, in our rural economy. A key feature of the strategy is the extension of the Green Revolution to the eastern region and to dryland areas. This will reduce regional imbalances in our development, and will contribute directly to eliminating poverty.
Anti-poverty programmes are an important element of our strategy. They will be expanded and strengthened in the Seventh Plan. The experience gained in the Sixth Plan will be used to restructure the programmes to improve their effectiveness and to ensure that the benefits flow to those for whom they are intended.
Planning has given us a strong base for building a modern, self-reliant industrial economy. Indian industry today is highly diversified, producing a wide range of products, many embodying a high level of technology. The public sector has a commanding presence and has played a pioneering role in many areas. We have a broad entrepreneurial base and ample technological and managerial manpower. But some weaknesses have also become evident. Much of our industry suffers from high cost. There is inadequate attention to quality. In many areas, we are working with technology that is obsolete. We have reached a watershed in our industrial development, and in the next phase we must fo9us on overcoming these problems. Our emphasis must be on greater efficiency, reduction of cost and improvement of quality. This calls for absorption of new technology, greater attention to economies of scale and greater competition.
In the final analysis, development is not just about factories, dams and roads. Development is basically about people. The goal is the people's material, cultural and spiritual fulfilment. The humanfactor, the human context, is of supreme
value. We must pay much greater attention to these questions in future. The Seventh Plan proposes bold initiatives these areas. Outlays for human resource development have been substantially increased. Policies and programmes education, health and welfare must also be restructured to provide a fuller life for our people.
These objectives call for a sustained effort on our part. The success of the Plan depends upon the extent to whic Governments, both at the Centre and the States, fulfil their commitments about mobilising and utilising resource Above all it depends upon the enthusiasm with which the people participate in it, transcending all differences
The public sector outlay of Rs. 180,000 crores represents a massive volume of public investment. It will place severe strain on our capacity for resource mobilisation. But there are no short cuts to development, no alternative t hard work. From the beginning our people have demonstrated their capacity to meet challenges. The task before us i to put an end to backwardness and to build the India of the future. This plan will take us significantly forward towards this goal.
(RAJIV GANDHI )
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