|8th Five Year Plan (Vol-1)||<< Back to Index|
The Eighth Plan is being launched at a time of momentous changes in the world and in India. The international political and economic order is being restructured everyday, and as the 20th Century draws to a close, many of its distinguishing philosophies and features have also been swept away. In this turbulent world, our policies must also deal with changing realities. Our basic policies have stood us in very good stead, and now provide us the opportunity to respond with flexibility to the new situation, so that we can work uninterruptedly towards our basic aim of providing a rich and just life for our people.
Planning has been one of the pillars of our policies since Independence, and our present strengths derive from its achievements. There is today a recognition that in many areas of activity, development can best be ensured by freeing them of unnecessary controls and regulations and withdrawing State intervention. At the same time, we believe that the growth and development of the country cannot be left entirely to the market mechanism. The market can be expected to bring about an "equilibrium" between "demand" - backed by purchasing power - and "supply", but it will not be able to ensure a balance between "need" and "supply". Planning is necessary to overcome such limitations of the market mechanism. Planning is essential for macro-economic management, for taking care of the poor and the downtrodden, who are mostly outside the market system and have little asset endowment. It is thus not a choice between the market mechanism and planning; the challenge is to effectively dovetail the two so that they are complementary to each other.
Human Development, in all its many facets, is the ultimate goal of the Eighth Plan. It is towards fulfilling this goal that the Eighth Plan accords priority to the generation of adequate employment opportunities to achieve near-full employment by the turn of the century, building up of people's institutions, control of population growth, universalisation of elementary education, eradication of illiteracy, provision of safe drinking water and primary health facilities to all, growth and diversification of agriculture to achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrains and generate surpluses for exports.
Government has introduced major reforms to provide greater competitive stimulus to Indian industry. The Eighth Plan seeks to carry this process further and give much greater emphasis on private initiative in industrial development. The public sector will become selective in the coverage of activities and its investments will be focussed on strategic, high-tech and essential infrastructure. The problems afflicting public sector units will be squarely addressed with a view to making this sector strong and dynamic. To create an appropriate environment for rapid industrial and economic growth, a major focus of the Eighth Plan will be the strengthening of the physical infrastructure, particularly in the areas of energy, transport, communication and irrigation.
The success of development programmes can be multiplied manifold if the people are wholeheartedly involved in their implementation. The implementation strategy for the Eighth Plan, therefore, relies on building and strengthening people's institutions and making people active participants. The role of the Government will be to create opportunities for the process of people's involvement in developmental activities.
The Eighth Plan envisages and average growth rate of 5.6% in GDP. It would be financed mostly from domestic resources. The realisation of the objectives of the Plan calls for an integrated set of macro-economic policies and the utmost financial discipline on the part of all concerned - the Central and State Governments, public and private enterprises and financial institutions. It also seeks to evolve a consensus and fruitful cooperation among all the "social partners" in development, namely, Government, farmers, trade unions, business, etc. The Plan is thus a joint endeavour in national development.
The Planning Commission has done a truly commendable job in record time in completing the entire deliberative process and finalising the Plan document, involving the Central Ministries and the State Governments. I congratulate the Deputy Chairman, Members and officers of the Planning Commission. I also thank Chief Ministers, Governors and Central Ministers for making very constructive contributions towards the formulation of the Plan and for giving their approval to the document.
Let us dedicate ourselves to the task of achieving the objectives set for the Plan. Let us together build an India that is free from want, ignorance and disease; an India that is vibrant and modern and an India that is socially integrated and economically strong.
(P.V. NARASIMHA RAO)
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