Research and study into the elements of this Plan started in early 1964. The Plan contained two comparatively detailed schemes: one was the Preliminary Tentative Plan of the 3rd Five-year Plan (1966-1970) proposed by the State Planning Commission and agreed by the Central Government Work Meeting in May 1964; the other was the Report Syllabus about the Arrangement of the 3rd Five-year Plan drawn out by the State Planning Commission and agreed by the central government in September 1965.
The Tentative Plan set out the following basic tasks:
1) To spare no efforts to develop agriculture, solve problems concerning people's food, clothing and other basic needs;
2) To strengthen national defense, and endeavor to make breakthroughs in technology;
3) In order to support agriculture and strengthen national defense, to enhance infrastructure, continue to improve production quality, increase production variety and quantity, to build an economy of self-reliance, and to develop transportation, commerce, culture, education and scientific research.
The Plan also called for the prioritization of national defense in the light of a possible big war, actively preparing for conflicts and speeding up construction in three key areas; national defense, science and technology, and industry and transport infrastructure.
According to the Report Syllabus, all major economic indicators were fulfilled in accordance with the plan. The gross output value of industry and agriculture actually exceeded targets by 14.1 percent; the gross output value of agriculture was 2.2 percent over-target; and the gross output value of industry was 21.1 percent over-target.
The outputs of other newly added major products were: 68.06 million tons of coal; 8.604 million kilowatts of electricity; 27.77 million tons of petroleum; 6.527 million tons of steels; 35.901 million tons of iron ore; 2.444 million tons of synthesized ammonia; 2.0416 million tons of fertilizers; 15.33 million tons of cement; 187,000 tons of plastics; 3.22 million tons of cotton spindles; 12,300 tons of chemical fibers; 3,894 kilometers of newly constructed railways and 31,223 kilometers of newly constructed highways were put into operation; and handling capacity of the coastal harbors were over 11.91 million tons.
However, as with the earlier two Plans, the blind pursuit of rapid development and accumulation actually created a barrier for future development of the national economy.