|6th Five Year Plan||
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" The day will dawn. Hold thy faith firm " TAGORE
Progress in a country of India's size and diversity depends on the participation and full involvement of all sections of the people. This is possible only in democracy. But for democracy to have meaning in our circumstances, it must be supported by socialism which promises economic justice and secularism which gives social equality. This is the frame for our planning.
The Planning Commission is to be congratulated on the manner in which it has worked practically round the clock to bring out the Sixth Plan in a year as we had promised to do. The drawing up of this plan posed special difficulties. We faced a plan gap and a budget gap at a time when the whole world, and India more than other countries, was hard hit by inflation, the continuing rise in the price of petroleum while the price of our raw materials remains static, as well as other political and economic tensions and international confrontations.
In view of the severe financial constrictions and the political expectations, it is not surprising that the Plan should be unsatisfactory to many. However, this is no reason to denigrate it. Planning is more than the putting together of a number of Central and State Government projects. It is a direction. And this the Sixth Plan provides. Once the nation is clear about the path to be followed, the details can be adjusted as we go along.
Let us cast a backward glance. In the last thirty years, through our Plans we have built the foundations of a modem, self-reliant economy. We have achieved self-sufficiency in food, diversified our industrial structure and made significant progress in science and technology. The continuity of the planning process, with its thrusts and checks, has lielped us to create and renew national assets and to take up programmes for the amelioration of the weakest strata and the uplift of the most backward regions. Economic growth must be balanced, it must ensure self-reliance, stability and social justice. All sections should be assured that there will be no discrimination. No society can prosper if merit is not given its due.
A developing nation must marshal its scarce resources for a concerted effort to build its capital base in various sectors of the economy to enhance production capabilities and allow larger savings. Increased output and a balanced inter-sectoral allocation of the incremental savings promote further development. So the process goes on.
The progress so far achieved has been steady and substantial, although somewhat slower than envisaged. The very process of development generates new expectations and makes fresh demands on resources. Our goal of self-reliance was bound to strain our external resources. Also, we were not allowed to concentrate undisturbed on our development endeavour, for there have been frequent challenges to national security. Another factor adding to the complication of our development is the continuous increase in population, primarily owing to the very success of our programmes of public health and epidemic control, as a result of which infant mortality has decreased dramatically and life expectancy risen.
We have resolutely stood up to each new challenge. We have come to a stage where we can confidently assert that development has contributed to strengthening our nation in spite of its regional, linguistic, social and communal diversities. It has consolidated our democracy and is guiding our society towards socialism. We can now speak of an India in which the fruits of growth will reach to the last. This is a stage when the planning process assumes even greater importance.
Five-Year Plans are formulated in the perspective of long-term development. This enables us to raise the national effort to match specific goals and meet critical challenges. Annual Plans give operational meaning to tlie exercise. Monitoring, review and evaluation procedures help to keep the vessel on the course. The voyage has been longer and rougher than we had imagined, but there is little doubt about the rightness of the course we have charted.
The Sixth Plan envisages a significant augmentation in the rate of growth of the economy with an annual growth rate of over 5 per cent. In this five-year period we expect to see progressive reduction in the incidence of poverty and unemployment and also in regional inequalities. Greater emphasis has been laid on the speedy development of indigenous sources of energy and infra-structural sectors of coal, energy, irrigation and transport. High priority has been given to agriculture and rural development and allied agricultural activities like animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries and also the forestry sector, with accent on development and conservation. Substantial outlays have been allocated for expansion in core sectors and also for cottage, village and small industries as well as for programmes to provide minimum needs.
The measure of a plan is not intention but achievement, not allocation but benefit. We are determined to implement this Plan with steadfastness of purpose. Democratic planning means the harnessing of the people's power and their fullest participation. We sail on stormy seas. But the Indian people have weathered many storms. Their spirit is indomitable and it will prevail. Let us help them to bend their energies with unity and discipline in the great endeavour to reach towards a brighter future.
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