Fifth Five Year Plan in India (1974-1978)

The period for the Fifth Five-Year Plan started from 1 April 1974, but it ended in 1978 (instead of 1979) when the Morarji Desai government came to power. The fifth plan emphasis on employment, poverty alleviation (Garibi Hatao), and attainment of self-reliance. It aimed at Growth for Social Justice.


  • The Fifth Plan, for the first time, adopted the removal of poverty as a national objective.
  • The other main objective was to achieve total economic self-reliance. The fifth Plan focused mainly on self-reliance in agriculture production and defense.
  • To reduce the rate of unemployment both in the Urban and Rural sectors by generating new employment opportunities.
  • To encourage self-employment.
  • To develop agro-based and food processing industry.
  • To encourage the growth of small-scale industries.
  • To reduce regional, social, and economic disparities.
  • To prevent overpopulation.

Key Notable Points

  • In the first year of the Fifth Five-Year Plan, the Indian Government introduced the Minimum Needs Programme (MNP). Its objective was to provide some basic minimum needs, thereby improving the living standards of the people. It was prepared and launched by D. P. Dhar.
  • During the Fifth Plan, India’s first successful nuclear bomb test was conducted on 18 May 1974, codenamed Operation Smiling Buddha. The Bomb detonated at Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan.
  • In 1975, the Indian Parliament amended the Electricity Supply Act, enabling the Central Government to enter into power generation & transmission.
  • The Government introduced the Indian National Highway System during the Fifth Plan. Many roads widened to accommodate the increasing traffic. Tourism also expanded.
  • During the period of the Fifth Plan, India launched its first space satellite Aryabhata on 19 April 1975 by a Soviet Kosmos-3M rocket from Kapustin Yar (Russia).
  • In June 1975, Prime Minister Indra Gandhi declared National Emergency across the country, officially imposed by then-President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution, based on prevailing internal disturbance. The Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977.

Command Area Development Programme (CADP)

  • In December 1974, the Government of India launched the Command Area Development Programme (CADP) to improve the utilization of irrigation potential and optimize agriculture production. Its purpose was to develop adequate delivery of irrigation water to the fields, optimum use of underground & surface water resources, and improvement of socio-economic conditions of farmers.
  • CADP started to increase the productivity in the irrigation command areas through an integrated approach with the following components:
    • Construction of field channels and field drains.
    • Land leveling wherever necessary.
    • Introduction of rational supply of water.
    • Demonstration and training to farmers.

Twenty-Point Program (TPP)

  • In July 1975, Prime Minister Indra Gandhi launched the Twenty-Point Program (TPP) to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of life of the poor & underprivileged population of the country. The program covers several socio-economic aspects, such as employment, education, poverty, health, housing, empowerment of weaker sections, agriculture and land reforms, drinking water, environment, etc. This program followed from 1975 to 1979.
  • The 20-Pont Economic program consists of the following:
    1. Attack on Rural Poverty.
    2. Strategy for rained agriculture.
    3. Better use of irrigation water.
    4. Biggest harvest.
    5. Enforcement of land reforms.
    6. Special Programs for rural labour.
    7. Clean drinking water.
    8. Health for all.
    9. Two-child norm.
    10. Expansion of education.
    11. Justice for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.
    12. Equality for women.
    13. New Opportunities for women.
    14. Housing for the people.
    15. Improvement for slums.
    16. New strategy for forestry.
    17. Protection of the environment.
    18. Concern for the consumer.
    19. Energy for the villages.
    20. A responsive administration.
  • The 20-Point Economic Program was revised first in 1982 and again in 1986. The Government again restructured the program in 2006.

Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) 

  • In 1975, on the recommendations of Narasimhan Working Group (1975), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) were set up under the provisions of an ordinance passed on 26 September 1975 and the Reginal Rural Bank Act of 1976Prathama Grameen Bank was the first Regional Rural Bank set up on 2 October 1975.
  • RRBs jointly owned by the:
    • Central Government with 50% shareholding.
    • Sponsoring banks with 35% shareholding.
    • State government with 15% shareholding.
  • RRBs provided sufficient banking and credit facilities for agriculture and other rural facilities. Its purpose was to include the rural areas into the economic mainstream by connecting rural areas with basic banking and financial services.
  • The main objectives of RRBs are:
    • To provide credit and other facilities to the small & marginal farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and small entrepreneurs in rural areas.
    • To check the outflow of rural deposits to urban areas.
    • To reduce regional imbalances.
    • To increase employment generation.
  • In 1977, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed the Dantwala Committee led by Prof. M. L. Dantwala to review the working of RRBs, which recommended continuing RRBs. The committee suggested that RRBs should become an integral part of the rural credit structure.
  • In 1984, the working group on RRBs, S. M. Kelkar Committee, recommended that small and uneconomic RRBs should merge in the interest of economic viability.
  • In 1989, the Khusro Committee, also known as Agricultural Credit Review Committee, led by Dr. A. M. Khusro, recommended that the RRBs have no justifiable cause for the continuance. The Khusro committee also suggested the RRBs merge with sponsor banks.
  • In 2003, the Government appointed the Chalapathi Rao Committee for restructuring of Regional Rural Banks in India. The committee suggested that the entire system of RRBs maybe consolidate while retaining the advantages of the regional character of these institutions.

Food for Work Programme

  • In April 1977, the government introduced the “Food for Work” Programme as a non-plan scheme. The objectives of the program were:
    • To eradicate hunger and unemployment.
    • Strengthening of the rural infrastructure.
    • Utilization of surplus food grains.
    • Creation of durable community assets.
  • The main feature of the Food for Work Programme was that it parts the Wage payment in food-grains at subsidized prices. As some surplus food stocks were available with the government, it planned to use them in employment generation.
  • The Food for Work Programme continued up to 1980. During the Sixth Plan, the government incorporated the Food for Work program as the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) in 1980.


  • The fifth plan achieved an actual growth rate of 4.8% against the target growth rate of 4.4%.
  • At the end of the fifth plan, the Foodgrain production increased from 104.7 million tonnes in 1974 to 126 million tonnes in 1978.
  • Industrial development, transport, and communication system also improved.

Overall the Fifth Five-Year Plan was successful. However, the newly elected Morarji Desai government (Janta Party) in 1978 rejected the plan and adopted a Rolling plan.

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