Investing in Human Development for a positive & more effective change 4

How “Human Development” is generally defined and understood by the society

We need to look at the word ‘development’ from a broader perspective rather than just increase in national income or GDP. It has various physical, political, social and economic aspects associated with it. The concept of ‘Human Development Index (HDI)’ is a more radical approach towards viewing the development of a country rather than GDP or per capita income. Over the years developing countries have gone afar in the development process in various fields yet they still lags behind developed countries in many ways. A single factor can’t be blamed solely for these disparities since there have been efforts to try and bring them up at par with others. Some examples which justify this fact are the various policies, acts and amendments for the public good and the various schemes and projects initiated by the government to bring up the weaker sections of the society. The root cause of these disparities lies in the improper implementation of these policies and schemes, weak management system, political turmoil, poor governance and rampant corruption.

Liberalization can be one such example to support the above said statement. Enormous opportunities are created by the liberalisation privatisation globalisation of any economy, but these opportunities are primarily grabbed by the middle class people and the poorer section of the society is still left untouched by it. The jobs created by liberalization are not accessible to the illiterate and poor rural population.

Human Development

On the other hand, if we see the examples of few Asian countries like China and Korea, where also the conditions of health, education, literacy, economy and development were at similar levels as those of India during the 1950s; we can say that the governance made the difference for them. Both of them also started afresh. But both these countries first invested in health and education of people so as to have a substantial rise in human capital due to which their country’s health improved, literacy rate and education levels got higher, population growth was controlled, life expectancy and hence Human Development increased. This in turn boosted their economy and brought these countries up very close to the developed countries. While for India during these years, per capita income grew at a much faster rate than the increase in the Human Development Index for the reasons of poor governance and lack of good vision.

Another example which can be taken up is that of the largest child development and nutritional program of India, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (1975) which failed to capitalize and deliver primarily due to the poor governance and corruption. According to a Wold Bank report of 2011, the scheme was unable to target the girl child improvement which was one major objective of the scheme; the participation of poorer children was less than that of the more affluent ones and the lack of proper funding for the poorest and undernourished states of India.

The ineffectiveness of the public distribution system to provide the grains within the reach of the below poverty line (BPL) section of the society is also another example. All these reflect the poor and blurry vision of the policy makers and political leaders and the defective political and management system.

MGNREGA – Debatable progress

MGNREGA or Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee Act 2005 and one of the largest employment scheme in the world. Though the usefulness of the act is undoubted but there lies the unlined flaw with the policy itself. The employment being provided under the act is completely “unskilled” work, this is again and again questioned as the scope of development for people working under MGNREGA gets diminished. No new skill is gained and people makes “zero” progress. More focus in given on getting the work done with “Human Development” taking a backseat.

To change these outcomes, the human capital should be first made stronger by investments and the vision of the policy makers should be made clear. The concept of ‘inclusive growth’ and ‘participatory planning and growth’ should be focussed upon. The management of various systems need to be stronger and more comprehensive. Then only the planning will be effective and supported by the management so as to fight the disparities.


Author: Planning Tank




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