The Third Five Year Plan (1961-66), accorded highest priority to agriculture, primarily to increase the production of wheat. Consequently, Punjab began producing an abundance of wheat. But owing to the Indo-China War in 1962 it dawned upon the planners that the country was lagging behind in its defence and the focus was shifted to the defence sector. Close on the heels of this war, India fought another war with Pakistan in 1965 which led to high inflation and the focus of the plan shifted to price stabilisation. During the Third Five Year Plan, out of the total Plan outlay of Rs. 8,577 crores. 20.5 per cent (Rs. 1,754 crores) was allocated to agriculture. This Plan gave a more concrete shape to social objectives and took far-reaching steps for their realisation. It took into account the success and failures of the previous two Plans and laid down that these objectives be fulfilled in the next 15 years. Thus this Plan took a long-term view of development so that, ‘India’s economy must not only expand rapidly but must, at the same time, become self-reliant and self-generating’.
Some Major Developments
- Important developments took place in the Third Plan period. State Boards of Secondary Education and Primary Schools were established in rural areas.
- States were made responsible for secondary and higher education.
- The construction of dams continued.
- Many cement and fertiliser plants were also built.
- State Electricity Boards and State Secondary Education Boards were formed.
- State Road Transportation Corporations were formed.
- Local road building became state responsibility.
- Panchayat elections started and the states given more development Responsibilities.
- Responsibility and initiative in economic and social development in rural areas passed on increasingly to popular organisations: Zila Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Village Panchayats and with cooperatives.
- Service cooperatives were organised on the basis of the village community as the primary unit.
- Cooperative farming was initiated.
The Basic Objective was to Achieve Self-Reliance
- In the Third Plan priority was given to agriculture. Past experience with the previous two Plans had convinced the policy makers that rate of agricultural growth was the main hampering factor on the path to development. The Plan document thus declared that, ‘Agricultural production has, therefore, to be increased to the largest extent feasible …’
- The Plan also aimed at diversification of the rural economy and to decrease the number of people dependent on agriculture. The wisdom behind this was that doing so was necessary for the uplift of the standard of living of the rural people in consonance with the rising income levels of people involved in other sectors. Therefore one of the avowed objectives was that, ‘Whatever is physically practicable should be made financially possible’ for which the Plan was to be ‘supplemented by extensive rural works programmes for utilising manpower resources in the villages, especially for increasing agricultural production’.
- The development of basic industries such as steel, power and machine-building and chemical industries were to be carried as fundamentals to rapid economic growth. This was to be done as these industries determine the speed at which a country attains self-reliance. For this purpose, just as in the Second Plan, the public and the private sectors were considered complementary but the role of the public sector in the development of the economy was to be dominant.
- Along with the bigger industries, the Plan also sought to carry on the development of small scale industries and promoting a greater integration between the two.
- To increase National Income by 5 per cent.
- Considerable emphasis was given to the development of education and other social services.
- Development programmes in the Plan to provide about 14 million additional employment.
Some Mixed Results
- The targeted growth rate under the Third Plan was to achieve a growth rate equal to 5.6 per cent of GDP but the rate actually achieved was much lower (only 2.2 per cent of GDP).
- The Plan fixed a target of 30 per cent increase in food and non-food crops output but the actual production remained far behind due to wars with China(I962) and Pakistan (1965) and because severe droughts hit India between 1965 and 1966.
- Food grain production recorded an increase of 8.5 per cent during the first 4 years of the Plan but fell sharply – registering a decline of 19 per cent during the concluding year. It rose from 82 million tons in 1960-61 to 89 million tons in 1964-65 but plummeted to 72.3 million tons in 1965-66.
- Fluctuating trends were also seen in the output of oil seeds, cotton and jute.
- The only advancing trend was noticed in the production of sugarcane.
- The Plan could not reach its targets partly due to the Indo-China War in 1962 and another war with Pakistan in 1965. But it gave a new thrust to the country’s agriculture by launching the Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP), the Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP) and marked a step towards self-sufficiency.
The Green Revolution
The Green Revolution is the name given to the phenomenal increase in food grains production, and sometimes loosely to all agricultural extension, that was associated with high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds and the increased use of fertilisers and irrigation. The Green Revolution was heralded in India by Dr. Norman Borlaug, who has been hailed as the Father of the Green Revolution. The increased production of wheat produced self-sufficiency genetically modified HYV of wheat in 1963 with the introduction of HYV seeds India. M.S. Swaminathan and his team also had an immense contribution in making the Green Revolution a success story in India.
The Green Revolution involved the following:
- Use of HYV seeds
- Extension of irrigation
- Use of insecticides and pesticides
- Land reforms
- 8 Consolidation of land holdings
- Rural electrification
- Improved rural infrastructure
- Supply of agricultural credit
- Use of chemical fertilisers
- Opening of agriculture universities.