Development is the combination of qualitative and quantitative process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced. The term ‘growth’ and ‘development’ are not new but refer to changes over a period of time. The difference is that growth is quantitative and value neutral which means it may have a positive or a negative that the change may be either positive (showing an increase) or negative (indicating a decrease) whereas development means a qualitative change which is always value positive that means that development cannot take place unless there is an increment or addition to the existing conditions. When positive growth takes place then development occurs but it doesn’t mean that the positive growth always leads to development. Development occurs when there is a positive change in quality.
For many decades, a country’s level of development was measured only in terms of its economic growth. This meant that the bigger the economy of the country, the more developed it was considered, even though this growth did not really mean much change in the lives of most people. The idea that the quality of life people enjoy in a country, the opportunities they have and freedoms they enjoy, are important aspects of development, is not new. These ideas were clearly spelt out for the first time in the late eighties and early nineties.
The concept of human development was introduced by Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq. He had stated that human development as development that magnifies people’s choices and improves their lives. Hence, all the developments are moving around the people. These choices are not fixed but keep on changing. The basic aim of development is to create conditions where people can live meaningful lives. It must be a life with some purpose which means that people must be healthy, be able to develop their talents, participate in society and be free to achieve their goals. Leading a long and healthy life, being able to gain knowledge and having enough means to be able to live a decent life are the most important aspects of human development. Therefore, access to resources, health and education are the key areas in human development. Suitable indicators have been developed to measure each of these aspects.
Very often, people do not have the capability and freedom to make even basic choices. This may be due to their inability to acquire knowledge, their material poverty, social discrimination, inefficiency of institutions and other reasons. This prevents them from leading healthy lives, being able to get educated or to have the means to live a decent life. Building people’s capabilities in the areas of health, education and access to resources is therefore, important in enlarging their choices. If people do not have capabilities in these areas, their choices also get limited. For example, an uneducated child cannot make the choice to be a doctor because her choice has got limited by her lack of education. Similarly, very often poor people cannot choose to take medical treatment for disease because their choice is limited by their lack of resources.
Pillars of Human Development
There are four pillars of human development which are discussed below:
• Equity means making equal access to opportunities available to everybody that opportunities available to people must be equal irrespective of their gender, race, income and in the Indian case, caste.
• Sustainability refers to the continuity in the availability of opportunities. To have sustainable human development, each generation must have the same opportunities. All environmental, financial and human resources must be used keeping in mind the future. Misuse of any of these resources will lead to fewer opportunities for future generations.
• Productivity refers to the human labour productivity or productivity in terms of human work that must be constantly enriched by building capabilities in people. Ultimately, it is people who are the real wealth of nations. Therefore, efforts to increase their knowledge, or provide better health facilities ultimately lead to better work efficiency.
• Empowerment refers to the power of making choices that power comes from increasing freedom and capability. Good governance and people-oriented policies are required to empower people. The empowerment of socially and economically disadvantaged groups is of special importance.