. At independence, the leadership recognized that some regions were more backward than others. Only a few enclaves or areas around Calcutta, Bombay and Madras had undergone modern industrial development.
From the beginning, the national government felt a responsibility to counter this imbalance in regional development. Thus, for example, the 1956 Industrial Policy Resolution of the Government of India asserted that ‘only by securing a balanced and coordinated development of the industrial and agricultural economy in each region can the entire country attain higher standards of living’. Similarly, recognizing ‘the importance of regional balance in economic development as a positive factor in promoting national integration’, the National Integration Council of 1961 urged that ‘a rapid development of the economically backward regions in any State should be given priority in national and State plans, at least to the extent that the minimum level of development is reached for all states within a stated period.
Economic Planning was also seen as a powerful instrument that could be used to remove regional inequality. The Second Plan reflected this objective and it was reiterated in the succeeding Plans. The Third Plan explicitly stated that ‘balanced development of different parts of the country, extension of the benefits of economic progress to the less developed regions and widespread diffusion of industry are among the major aims of planned development’.