The tasks set out under this Plan were:
First, to continue industrial construction with a focus on heavy industry, push forward technical reconstruction and lay a solid foundation for China's socialist industrialization.
Second, to continue socialist transformation, consolidate and enlarge the shares of collective ownership and ownership by the people.
Third, with basic construction and socialist transformation already established, to further boost industry, agriculture, handicrafts, transportation and commerce.
Fourth, to cultivate talents, strengthen scientific research and development to fulfill the needs of socialist economic and cultural development;
Fifth, riding on the basic industrial and agricultural development, to strengthen national defense and improve people's living standards and cultural awareness.
Major achievements during this time included:
Industrial output value had doubled; the gross value of agricultural products increased by 35 percent; steel production in 1962 was between 10.6 million tons or 12 million tons; investment in capital construction rose to 40 percent from 35 percent in the First Five-Year Plan period; the investment in capital construction was doubled; and the average income of workers and farmers increased by up to 30 percent.
However, many planning targets were modified and raised continuously during this time. In August 1958, the Political Bureau of the CPC held a conference in Beidaihe, Hebei Province, to discuss the Plan. Targets were raised from the last plan, and a decision was made that socialist construction would create conditions for the transition to a communist society. It was also set out that by 1962, China would have a strong, independent and complete industrial system, surpassing the United Kingdom and catching up with the United States in terms of the quality of key products. Gross value of agricultural products would increase 270 percent in five years, grain production in 1962 would reach 750 billion kilograms, cotton 150 million dan (1 dan = 50 kilograms), steel 80 million tons, coal 900 million tons and cotton yarn 16 million pieces. Capital construction investment in the five years would reach 385 billion yuan and major construction projects were to surpass 1,000.
The Great Leap Forward and Anti-Rightist movements that emerged in 1958 caused imbalances in the national economy, fiscal deficits over consecutive years, great hardship for the people. Realizing that it would be difficult to maintain the pace of economic development as envisioned, the government had to make certain adjustments. The State Planning Commission brought forward the policy of readjustment, restructuring, consolidation and improvement, as laid out in its Report on Controlling Figures of National Economic Planning in 1961, and the CPC Central Committee disseminated it to subordinate departments in September 1960. It was officially approved at the Ninth Session of the Eighth National Congress of CPC in January 1961.