Sixth Five Year Plan in India (1980-1985)

In January 1980, the Congress government led by Indra Gandhi came back to power, which terminated the Rolling Plan, and introduced a new Sixth Five Year Plan. The period for the Sixth Plan started from 1 April 1980 and ended on 31 March 1985. The Sixth Plan marked the beginning of economic liberalization. The Plan aimed at increasing national income, employment generation, poverty reduction, control of population expansion, adoption of modern technology, and infrastructural changes.


  • The foremost objective of the Sixth Plan was the removal of poverty.
  • To achieve total economic self-reliance.
  • To generate more employment opportunities and reduce unemployment.
  • To prevent overpopulation by adopting the concept of family planning.
  • To attain Balanced Regional Development.
  • To achieve technological self-reliance.
  • To raise the living standards of the poorest of the masses.
  • To provide basic needs of life such as health care, drinking water, roads in rural areas.
  • The Sixth Plan adopted Sustainable Growth as a nation’s objective for the first time.
  • Another area of emphasis was infrastructure to strengthen the development of both Industry and Agriculture.

Key Notable Points

Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)

On 2 October 1980, the Indian government launched the Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) on the All India Level (earlier launched in 2300 blocks in 1978). The program deals with poverty-related issues in the country. All existing anti-poverty programs got merged under IRDP.

IRDP aimed at providing self-employment to the rural poor through the acquisition of productive assets or appropriate skills, which would generate additional income on a sustained basis to enable them to cross the poverty line. The program also assisted in subsidies and bank credit. It targeted small & marginal farmers, agriculture laborers, and rural artisans living below the poverty line.

National Rural Employment Programme (NREP)

On 2 October 1980, the Government of India also launched the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) to increase employment opportunities in rural areas. It’s also a Major step towards poverty alleviation.

Up to March 1981, the Central government fully financed the program. But, from April 1981, NREP became an integral part of the Sixth Plan. It became a regular Plan program, implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme on 50:50 basic between the Centre and the States.

  • The main objectives of NREP were:
    • To generate additional gainful employment for unemployed and underemployed persons (both men and women) in rural areas.
    • Improving the overall quality of life in rural areas.
    • Creation of durable community assets for strengthening rural infrastructure.
  • The features of NREP were:
    • NREP was a centrally sponsored program with equal sharing of expenditure by the Central and State government. In other words, it’s a joint program by the Central and State government on a 50%-50% share basis.
    • Wages were paid partly in cash and partly in food grains. Hence, the program was also known as the “Food for Work” program. The Central Government shall provide a share of 50% in surplus food grains. The State government shall provide a share of 50% in base payment.
    • It provides training to the personnel in the implementation of the program.
  • During the Seventh Five-Year Plan, NREP got merged into Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) on 1 April 1989.

Biogas Programme

In 1981, the Indian Government and Khadi & Village Industries Commission jointly launched the Biogass Movement. Its objective was to use Biogas as an alternative source of energy and more effective utilization of animal and human wastes. The program aimed at improving the standard of living of people. Also, the lack of scientific studies in this area motivated the researchers to conduct research works with the specific objectives as follow:

  • To compare the time utilization pattern of Biogas owning families and Non-Biogas owning families in food preparation activities.
  • To study their daily time utilization pattern in-home activities.

Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA)

During the Sixth Plan, the government started the “Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA)” program on a pilot basis in 1982-83. However, SITRA launched in July 1992 as a sub-scheme of IRDP extended to all the districts in the country.

Under the SITRA scheme, a variety of craftspersons and rural artisans excepts weavers, tailors, needleworkers, are supplied with a kit of improved hand tools within a financial ceiling of Rs 2000 of which the artisans had to pay 10% and the remaining 90% is a subsidy from the Government of India. The popular crafts under this scheme were blacksmithy, leatherwork, pottery, bamboo work.

Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank)

  • In April 1982, the Government of India established the EXIM Bank under the Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981 as a purveyor of export credit.
  • It was set up with an initial capital of 44 crore rupees.
  • EXIM Bank is owned by the Government of India and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • EXIM Bank is an export finance institution of the country, which aimed to enhance the exports from Indian and promote the country’s international trade. The Bank primarily lends for exports from India, including supporting overseas buyers and Indian suppliers for export from India.
  • It provides Direct Lending as well as Refinancing through an institutional agency identified by RBI.
  • EXIM Bank is a specialized institution for foreign trade. It extends the Line of Credit to overseas financial institutions, regional development banks, and other entities overseas to enable buyers in those countries to import developmental & infrastructure projects, equipment, goods & services from India.

National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD)

  • NABARD was set up on 12 July 1982 on the recommendations of the B. Sivaraman Committee to implement the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development Act 1981.
  • It was set up with an initial capital of Rs. 100 Crore.
  • NABARD is owned by the Government of India.
  • NABARD came into existence by merging the:
    • Agriculture Credit Department,
    • Rural Planning & Credit Cell (RPCC) of RBI,
    • Agricultural Refinance & Development Corporation (ARDC).
  • The agricultural credit functions of the RBI and refinance functions of the Agricultural Refinance & Development Corporation (ARDC) were transferred to NABARD.
  • NABARD provides the financial support to build rural infrastructure. It looks after the development of the cottage industry, small scale industry, and other rural industries.
  • NABARD refinances the financial institution which further finances the rural sector. It does not provide direct lending.
  • NABARD supervises over the Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs). It also conducts statutory inspection of these banks.
  • It helps to formulate and implement the district credit plan. It also promotes agriculture research along with agriculture education.

Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)

In September 1982, the Government of India launched the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) as a sub-scheme of IRDP, which aims at strengthening the gender component of IRDP. It was launched on a pilot basis in 50 districts in the year 1982-1983. The criteria to choose the Districts were low-female literacy and high-Infant Mortality rates. The scheme proposed to cover all the districts in the country by the end of the Eighth Five Year Plan.

The main objective of the DWCRA was to improve the socio-economic, educational, and health status of rural women and Children. DWCRA aimed at improving the living conditions of Women and Children by providing financial assistance, creating employment opportunities, skill up-gradation, training, and access to other social services.

The target group of DWCRA was the same as that under the IRDP, i.e., the families below the poverty line. However, the Basic difference between DWCRA with IRDP lies in that: under the DWCRA, it is not an individual who receives assistance but a group of families. The program envisages the formation of groups, each consisting of 15 to 20 women.

The strategy adopted under the DWCRA was to cover the women from the families below the poverty line in rural areas by organizing them into groups and enabling them to take up income-generating activities to supplement their income.

Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP)

In August 1983, the Indian Government launched the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) to improve and expand the employment opportunities to the rural landless to provide employment to at least one member of every landless labour household up to 100 days a year. The program also aimed at creating durable assets for strengthening the rural economy.

Maharashtra was the first state in India to implement this program in 1972, whereas the Central Government launched it in 1983. During the Seventh Five-Year Plan, RLEGP got merged into Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) on 1 April 1989.

Self-Employment to the Educated Unemployed Youth (SEEUY)

In October 1983, the Government started the Self-Employment to the Educated Unemployed Youth (SEEUY) scheme to provide financial and technical assistance for self-employment. This scheme subsumed into Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna in 1993.


  • The Sixth Five-Year Plan was a great success for the Indian economy. The target growth rate in the Sixth Plan was 5.2%, and the actual growth rate was 5.7%.
  • The Foodgrain production increased from 126 million tonnes in 1978 to 145.6 million tonnes in 1985.
  • The government introduced several successful programs on the improvement of public health during the Sixth Plan.
  • There was a significant advancement in Science and Technology. The transportation and communication system also improved.

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