First Five Year Plan (1951-56)

Lesson 26 : Five Year Plans: Objectives and Achievements

First Five Year Plan (1951-56)

The first five year plans was presented to the Parliament of India on 8th December, 1951. The first plan was launched to get the country’s economy out of the cycle of poverty, when the country was recovering from trauma of the partition in 1947 and the crisis created by the Second World War.

At the time of this plan, the country was faced with three problems:

  • Influx of refugees
  • Severe food shortage
  • Mounting inflation

The total planned budget of first five year plan was allocated to seven brood areas.

  • Irrigation and energy
  • Agriculture and community development
  • Transport and communications
  • Industrial sector
  • Social services
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Other sectors and services


  • To correct the disequilibrium in the economy caused by the 2nd World War and partition of the country.
  • Rehabilitation of refugees, rapid agricultural development so as to achieve food sufficiency in the shortest possible time to decrease reliance on food grain imports and control of inflation.
  • All round balanced development which could ensure a rising national income and a steady improvement in the living standards of the people over a period of time.
  • The plan accorded highest priority to agriculture including irrigation and power projects.
  • To increase the rate of investment from 5-7% of national income.


  • The country’s national income increased by 18 per cent, per capita income by 11 per cent and per capita consumption by 9%.
  • The actual achieved growth in the gross domestic product was 3.6 percent per annum as against the target set for 2.1 per cent.
  • Irrigation projects like Bhakra Dam and Hirakud Dam were started during this period.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO), with the Indian Government, addressed children’s health and reduced infant mortality.
  • At the end of the plan in 1956, five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were started as major technical institutions.
  • University Grant Commission was set up to take care of funding and measures to strengthen higher education in the country.
  • Contracts were signed to start five steel plants, which came into existence in the middle of second five year plan.
  • The Indian government also made considerable effort in improving posts and telegraphs, railway services, road tracks and civil aviation.
  • The programme was overall a quite success.
Last modified: Monday, 16 January 2012, 11:41 AM