The Sixth Five Year Plan came into operation with many expectations after the Fifth Five Year Plan was terminated in 1978, 1 year short of the stipulated duration of 5 years. During the Fifth Five Year Plan, India underwent a series of ‘instabilities’ in terms of the political scenario, including the non completion of the Plan and Indira Gandhi loosing the Prime Ministerial elections. The Janata Government under Morarji Desai moved away from the Gross National Product approach to development and aimed to provide employment opportunities to poor people. But they failed in doing so as there was a lack political will. By the end of the Sixth Five Year Plan, Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister of the country. The pressure was immense on the Sixth Five Year Plan to nullify the adverse effects of the Fifth Five Year Plan and make inroads for the betterment of various industries in the country with a proper precise plan taking into consideration the most important issues prevalent in the country. The Sixth Five Year Plan sparked the beginning of economic liberalisation. The Sixth Five Year Plan witnessed price control eliminations and closing of the ration shops which in return led to an increase in the prices of food and an increase in the cost of living. The Plan also saw the end of the Nehruvian Plan.
The total plan investment for the Sixth Five Year Plan for the period 1980-85 was estimated at Rs. 158710. Out of the total investment budgeted for the plan, Rs. 84000 crores were invested in the public sector while the remaining balance of Rs. 74710 crores were invested in the private sector.
Poverty Reduction Main Focus of the Plan
The Sixth Five Year Plan mainly focussed on the aspects of poverty and unemployment. The Sixth Five Year Plan intended to reduce the poverty percentage from 46.44% in 1979-80 to 38.93% in 1984-85. But the main problem was the increasing population of the country and hence the task of reducing the poverty level among the common people became much more difficult. To resolve the problem, the Sixth Five Year Plan initiated family programmes with the important goal of controlling population growth. Different Programmes were initiated to provide benefits to the poor people including credit, training and services. The National Rural Employment Programme helped in the generation of wage employment. The Integrated Rural Development Programme was also implemented to help in the alleviation of poverty.
Objectives of the Sixth Five Year Plan
The main objective of the Sixth Five Year Plan was to reduce poverty and attain self-reliance in the agricultural sector, but there were some other important aspects which also constituted the Sixth Five Year Plan and they are as follows:
- To increase the rate of growth of the economy.
- Alleviation of poverty and unemployment in the country.
- Achieving economic and technological self reliance with the help of modernisation.
- Controlling population growth through acceptance of the small family norm by promoting policies.
- To promote active participation of all the sections of people towards the goal of development with the help of proper education and communication.
- Proper emphasis on conservation and efficiency in energy use with progressive importance on the development of indigenous sources of energy.
- Safeguarding and improving the essential ecological and environmental assets in order to keep a balance between the short term and the long term goals.
- To provide education at all levels.
- Improving the quality of life of the citizens.
The Sixth Five Year Plan laid emphasis on :
- Strengthening the infrastructure for agriculture and industry sectors.
- Opportunities for employment in the rural areas and the unorganised sector.
- Meeting the minimum basic needs of the people.
- Taking a systematic approach in dealing with inter-related problems.
- Focusing on the participation of the common people in the development of schemes for the local people.
- Reduction of inequality in terms of income and wealth.
- Improving the living conditions of the people.
- The target growth rate for the Sixth Five Year Plan was taken as 5.2% but by the end of the Plan they achieved an actual growth rate of 5.6%, higher than that of the target.
- The rate of inflation came down from 9.28 in 1979 to 3.53 in 1985 signifying a massive change in the economy of the country.
- The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 5.2% during the Sixth Five Year Plan.
- The Sixth Five Year Plan could not reduce the poverty rate to achieve the desired target of 38.93% by the end of the stipulated period.