Development refers to measures of economic growth, social welfare and the level of modernization measured against a chosen standard. 

Actors of Development


Initial Decades [1950s-1980s]

During the initial decades, development was conceived in terms of economic development and the emphasis was on a growing public sector with massive investments in basic and heavy industries.

Failures in Initial Plans: 

The developmental planning in the initial decades failed in

  • Eliminating poverty & Unemployment 
  • Reducing inequality of income & wealth
  • Implementation of land reforms
  • Reducing inter-regional disparity
  • Education and Health remained neglected
  • Issues of gender inequality
  • Sustainable development
  • Inclusive growth

Growth without Justice

Though the constitutional mandate was to build an egalitarian social order based on the principle of social equity, all attempts towards the same failed miserably. Growth happened without justice.

Paradigm Shift in Developmental Thinking: 

● The 6th Five year plan (1980-85) emphasized the need for a reappraisal of the developmental strategy

● By the end of the 1980s, there also emerged the concept of ‘human development’.

● UN’s Human Development Report which emphasized upon, “The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people’s choices”.

● Amartya Sen has given the concept of development a new dimension.  According to Sen, Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency. 

● In simple terms, Development is ‘bringing about social change that allows people to achieve their human potential’. 

● Development should be considered as a process rather than an outcome.  

Dimensions of Development

Development as a political process: as it involves the State who has the power to choose what to do, how to do and for whom. 

Development as an Economic Process: it involves both quantitative (improve GDP and economic growth) and qualitative (Inclusive development, rise in life expectancy) aspects. 

Developmental as a humanistic approach: Amartya Sen – capability approach focuses on the well-being of those at the bottom of the society, not on the efficiency of those at the top. It focuses on improving the capability of individual through education, health and freedom. 

Sustainable Development: “Our Common Future”, also called Brundtland Report, defines Sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To achieve it, the UN has established Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a wide ranging target – to be achieved by 2030. 

Free UPSC MasterClass
This is default text for notification bar