When India achieved Independence in 1947, the national consensus was in favour of rapid industrialization of the economy which was seen not only as the key to economic development but also to economic sovereignty. In the subsequent years, India's Industrial Policy evolved through successive Industrial Policy Resolutions and Industrial Policy Statements. Specific priorities for industrial development were also laid down in the successive Five Year Plans. Building on the so-called "Bombay Plan"1 in the pre-Independence era, the first Industrial Policy Resolution announced in 1948 laid down broad contours of the strategy of industrial development. At that time the
Constitution of India had not taken final shape nor was the Planning Commission constituted. Moreover, the necessary legal framework was also not put in place. Not surprisingly therefore, the Resolution was somewhat broad in its scope and direction. Yet, an important distinction was made among industries to be kept under the exclusive ownership of Government, i.e., the public sector, those reserved for private sector and the joint sector. Subsequently, the Indian Constitution was adopted in January 1950, the Planning Commission was constituted in March 1950 and the Industrial (Department and Regulation) Act (IDR Act) was enacted in 1951 with the objective of empowering the Government to take necessary steps to regulate the pattern of industrial development through licensing. This paved the way for the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, which was the first comprehensive statement on the strategy for industrial development in India.
Industrial Policy Resolution - 1956 The Industrial Policy Resolution - 1956 was shaped by the Mahalanobis Model of growth, which suggested that emphasis on heavy industries would lead the economy towards a long term higher growth path. The Resolution widened the scope of the public sector. The objective was to accelerate 1
Bombay Plan prepared by leading Indian industrialists in 1944-45 had recommended government support for industrialization, including a direct role in the production of capital goods.
2 economic growth and boost the process of industrialization as a means to achieving a socialistic pattern of society. Given the scarce capital and inadequate entrepreneurial base, the Resolution accorded a predominant role to the State to assume direct responsibility for industrial development. All industries of basic and strategic importance and those in the nature of public utility services besides those requiring large scale investment were reserved for the public sector. The Industrial Policy Resolution - 1956 classified industries into three categories. The first category comprised 17 industries (included in Schedule A of the Resolution) exclusively under the domain of the Government. These included inter alia, railways, air transport, arms and ammunition, iron and steel and atomic energy. The second category comprised 12 industries (included in Schedule B of the Resolution), which were envisaged to be progressively State owned but private sector was expected to supplement the efforts of the State. The third category contained all the remaining industries and it was expected that private sector would initiate development of these industries but they would remain open for the State as well. It was envisaged that the State would facilitate and encourage development of these industries in the private sector, in accordance with the programmes formulated under the Five Year Plans, by appropriate fiscal measures and ensuring adequate infrastructure. Despite the demarcation of industries into separate categories, the Resolution was flexible enough to allow the required adjustments and modifications in the national interest. Another objective spelt out in the Industrial Policy Resolution - 1956 was the removal of regional disparities through development of regions with low industrial base....