The first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru presented the first five-year plan to the Parliament of India on 8 December 1951. The plan addressed, mainly, the agrarian sector, including investments in dams and irrigation. The agricultural sector was hit hardest by the partition of India and needed urgent attention. The total planned budget of 206.8 billion (US$23.6 billion in the 1950 exchange rate) was allocated to seven broad areas: irrigation and energy (27.2 percent), agriculture and community development (17.4 percent), transport and communications (24 percent), industry (8.4 percent), social services (16.64 percent), land rehabilitation (4.1 percent), and for other sectors and services (2.5 percent). The most important feature of this phase was active role of state in all economic sectors. Such a role was justified at that time because immediately after independence, India was facing basic problems—deficiency of capital and low capacity to save.
The target growth rate was 2.1% annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth; the achieved growth rate was 3.6% The net domestic product went up by 15%. The monsoon was good and there were relatively high crop yields, boosting exchange reserves and the per capita income, which increased by 8%. National income increased more than the per capita income due to rapid population growth. Many irrigation projects were initiated during this period, including the Bhakra Dam and Hirakud Dam. The World Health Organization, with the Indian government, addressed children's health and reduced infant mortality, indirectly contributing to population growth.
At the end of the plan period in 1956, five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were started as major technical institutions. The University Grant Commission was set up to take care of funding and take measures to strengthen the higher education in the country. Contracts were signed to start five steel plants, which came into existence in the middle of the second five-year plan.
Second Five-Year Plan (1956–1961)
The second five-year plan focused on industry, especially heavy industry. Unlike the First plan, which focused mainly on agriculture, domestic production of industrial products was encouraged in the Second plan, particularly in the development of the public sector. The plan followed the Mahalanobis model, an economic development model developed by the Indian statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in 1953. The plan attempted to determine the optimal allocation of investment between productive sectors in order to maximise long-run economic growth . It used the prevalent state of art techniques of operations research and optimization as well as the novel applications of statistical models developed at the Indian Statiatical Institute. The plan assumed a closed economy in which the main trading activity would be centered on importing capital goods.
Hydroelectric power projects and five steel mills at Bhilai, Durgapur, and Rourkela were established. Coal production was increased. More railway lines were added in the north east.
The Atomic Energy Commission was formed in 1948 with Homi J. Bhabha as the first chairman. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was established as a research institute. In 1957 a talent search and scholarship program was begun to find talented young students to...