ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pursuit of Industrial Self-Sufficiency-A Critique of the First Three Plans

Pursuit of Industrial Self-Sufficiency A Critique of the First Three Plans V V Desai ATTAINMENT of self-sufficiency has been an important objective of planned development in the country. An attempt is made here to examine the rationale of this objective, the approach adopted for its achievement and the extent of fulfilment achieved in the first three Plans, The Rationale Self-sufficiency, as an objective of planned economic development, could be justified on economic grounds when the country's export possibilities are inadequate and are undependable for financing the import requirements of the intended growth. In all the three Hans, emphasis on this objective was unmistakable although its rationale remained undisclosed. The first Plan envisaged replacement of imports of items like aluminium, fertilisers, man- made fibres, etc, by their indigenous production. The need for taking up this programme of import substitution was, however, not explained in the dis cussion on "Foreign Trade and Commercial Policy" in the Plan. Nor was there at that time, or since, any comprehensive official study of export possibilities that would justify such a programme. It was maintained at the time of the Second Plan that "one important aim is to make India independent as quickly as possible of foreign imports of producer goods so that the accumulation of capital is not hampered by difficulties in securing supplies of essential producer goods from the other countries. The heavy industries must, therefore, be expanded with all possible speed"1 (italics added). Similarly, it was noted in the Third Plan that "it is essential to pursue... a broad strategy of economic development which will ensure that the economy expands rapidly and becomes self- relying and self-generating within the shortest possible period"2 (italics added).

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