Human Development in India! Read this article to learn about:- 1. Concept of Human Development 2. Rationale of Human Development 3. Components of Human Development 4. Environmental Threats to Human Development 5. Importance of Human Development in Indian Economy 6. Economic Growth and Human Development in Indian Economy.

Human Development in India: Concept, Importance, Components and Threats

Human Development in India – Concept of Human Development

Human development is an important parameter for the well-being of the society at large. General perception is that income or wealth is the only thing for survival of mankind. But in practice, income alone cannot arrange each and everything for human welfare. There are different components which are must for overall development of mankind. Freedom, equity, justice, literacy, fairness, healthcare are important factors which create conducive environment for human development. Income or wealth may work as an instrument for all these things but that is not an end in itself.

The Human Development Report has defined human development “as the process of enlarging people’s choices. The most critical ones are to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living. Additional choices include political freedom; other guaranteed human rights and various ingredients of self-respect. These are among the essential choices, the absence of which can block many other opportuni­ties. Human development is thus a process of widening people’s choices as well as raising the level of well-being achieved.” Thus, Paul Streeten, stated that the “concept of human development puts people back at centre stage, after decades in which a maze of techni­cal concepts had obscured this fundamental vision”.

According to Mahbub ul Haq. Human Development embraces the enlargement of all human choices – whether economic, social, cultural or political. “Sometimes, people think that the expansion of income can enlarge all other choices as well but it is not generally true. The national priorities chosen by the society or its rulers and the political structure prevalent in the society may not allow the income expansion to enlarge human options.”


Mahbub ul Haq also remarked that the ‘use of income’ by a society is just as important as ‘generation of income’ itself as would be clear from the fact that income expansion leads to much less human satisfaction in a virtual political prison or cultural void than in a more liberal political and economic environment. “Accumulation of wealth may not be necessary for the fulfilment of several kinds of human choices. In fact, many choices do not require any wealth at all”.

For instance, “a society does not have to be rich to afford democracy. A family does not have to be wealthy to respect the rights of each member. A nation does not have to be affluent to treat women and men equally. Valuable social and cultural traditions can be and are maintained at all level of income.”

There are many human choices that extend far beyond economic well-being. Know­ledge, health, a clean physical environment, political freedom and simple pleasures of life are not dependent on income. Accumulation of wealth can expand people’s choices in these areas but this is not necessary. It is the use of wealth and not wealth itself that is decisive. Haq thus rightly warns “unless societies recognize that real wealth is their people, an excessive obsession with creating material wealth can obscure the goal of enriching human life.”

Human Development in India – Rationale of Human Development

Rationales of Human Development are as follows:


1. Human development is the end while economic growth is only a means to this end. The ultimate purpose of the entire exercise of development is to treat men, women and children – present and future generations – as ends, to improve the human condition, to enlarge people’s choices.

2. Human development is a means to higher productivity. A well-nourished, healthy, educated, skilled alert labour force is the most important productive asset. Thus, investments in nutrition, health services and education are justified on grounds of productivity.

3. It helps in lowering the family size by slowing human reproduction. It is the expe­rience of all developed countries that improvement in education levels (particu­larly of girls), better health facilities and reduction in infant mortality rates leads to a lowering of the birth rates.

While improved education facilities make people aware of the benefits of a small family (a higher income level, better standard of living etc.), reduction in infant mortality rates reduces the incentive of having large families as fewer child deaths are now feared.


4. Human development is good for physical environment. Deforestation, desertifica­tion and soil erosion decline when poverty declines. How population growth and population density affect the environment is a subject of controversy. The con­ventional view is that they have a detrimental effect. However, Paul Streeten cit­ies recent research to show that rapid (though not accelerating) population growth and high population density (particularly if combined with secure land rights) can be good for soil and forest conservation.

5. Reduced poverty contributes to a healthy civil society, increased democracy and greater social stability.

6. Human development can help in reducing civil disturbances in a society and in increasing political stability.

Human Development in India – Components of Human Development

Major Components of Human Development are as follows:


Human Development Component # 1. Equity:

It is basic right of the different segment of society to have equitable access to opportunities. However, equity in access to opportunities needs follow­ing restructuring process- (i) change in the distribution of productive assets espe­cially through land reforms; (ii) major restructuring in the distribution of income through progressive fiscal policy, aimed at transferring income from rich to the poor; (iii) overhauling of the credit systems so that the credit requirements of the poor people are satisfactorily met; (iv) equalization of political opportunities through voting rights reformed, campaign finance; and (v) undertaking steps to remove social and legal barriers that limit the access of women or of certain minorities or ethnic minorities to some of the key economic and political opportunities.

Human Development Component # 2. Sustainability:


Sustainability presents that present generation should not survive at the cost of future generation. In other words, next generation has even right to enjoy at least the same well-being what present generation is enjoying in the sys­tem. Sustainability is a matter of distributional equity of sharing development op­portunities between present and future generations and ensuring intergenerational and intergenerational equity in access to opportunities. However, present levels of poverty and human deprivation should not be carrying forward for the future gen­eration.


Human Development Component # 3. Productivity:

It constitutes an essential part of the human development para­digm. It requires investments in people and an enabling macroeconomic environ­ment for them to achieve their maximum-potential. Economic growth is the out­come of human development process. Efforts are required to invest in producti­vity of human resource for accelerating the process of economic growth. Human resources are the means of development and they are also the ultimate end of the development.

Human Development Component # 4. Empowerment:

Basic assumption of human development paradigm is to ensure full empowerment of the people. Empowerment means that people are in a posi­tion to exercise choices of their own free will. “It implies a political democracy in which people can influence decisions about their lives. It requires economic liber­alism so that people real governance is brought to the doorstep of every person. It means that all members of civil society, particularly non-governmental organiza­tions, participate fully in making and implementing decisions.”


The empowerment of people requires actions on various fronts:

(i) It requires investing in the educa­tion and health of the people so that they can take advantage of market advantage of market opportunities;

(ii) It requires ensuring an enabling environment that gives everyone access to credit and productive assets so that the playing fields of life are more even; and

(iii) It implies empowering both women and men so that they can compete on an equal footing.

Human Development in India – Environmental Threats to Human Development

Environmental degradation and climate change affect physical and social environments, knowledge, assets and behaviours. Dimensions of disadvantage can interact, compound­ing adverse impacts-for example, the intensity of health risks is highest where water and sanitation are inadequate, deprivations that often coincide. Nearly 3 in 10 children of primary school age in low HDI countries are not even enrolled in primary school, and multiple countries are not even enrolled in primary school, and multiple constraints, some environmental, persist even for enrolled children.

Lack of electricity, for example, has both direct and indirect effects. Electricity access can enable better lighting, allow­ing increased study time, as well as the use of modern stoves; reducing time spent col­lecting fuel wood and water, activities shown to slow education progress and lower school enrolment. Girls are more often adversely affected because they are more likely to com­bine resource collection and schooling.


Access to clean water and improved sanitation is also especially important for girls’ education, affording them health gains, time savings and privacy:

(i) Environmental Stress:

Household environmental deprivations can coincide with wider environmental stresses, constructing people’s choices in a wide range of contexts and making it harder to earn a living from natural resources: people have to work more to achieve the same returns or may even have to migrate to escape environmental degradation.

Resource-dependent livelihoods are time consuming, especially where households face a lack of modern cooking fuel and clean water. And time use surveys offer a window into the associated gender-based inequali­ties. Women typically spend many more hours than men do fetching wood and water, and girls often spend more time than boys do. Women’s heavy involvement in these activities has also been shown to prevent them from engaging in higher return activities.

(ii) Gender Inequality:

The Gender Inequality Index (GII), or shows how reproductive health constraints contribute to gender inequality. Recent studies reveal that not only is women’s participation important but also how they participate – and how much. And because women often show more concern for the environment, sup­port pro-environmental policies and vote for pro-environmental leaders, their greater involvement in politics and in non-governmental organizations could result in environmental gains, with multiplier effects across all the Millennium Develop­ment Goals. Gender equity reaffirms the value of expanding women’s effective freedoms. Thus, women’s participation in decision-making has both intrinsic value and instrumental importance in addressing equity and environmental degrada­tion.


(iii) Power Disparities:

Political empowerment at the national and sub-national levels has been shown to improve environmental sustainability. And while context is important, studies show that democracies are typically more accountable to vot­ers and more likely to support civil liberties. A key challenge everywhere, how­ever, is that even in democratic system, the people most adversely affected by environmental degradation are often the worst off and least empowered, so policy priorities do not affect their interest and needs.

(iv) Access to Modern Energy:

Energy is central to human development, yet some 1.5 billion people worldwide – more than one in five-lack electricity. Among the multi­dimensional poor the deprivations are much greater – one in three lacks access.

There are many promising prospects for expanding access without a heavy envi­ronmental toll:

(a) Off-grid decentralized options are technically feasible for delivering energy services to poor households and can be financed and delivered with mini­mal impact on the climate.


(b) Providing basic modern energy services for all would increase carbon diox­ide emissions by only an estimated 0.8 per cent – taking into account broad policy commitments already announced.

(v) Averting Environmental Degradation:

A broader menu of measures to avert envi­ronmental degradation ranges from expanding reproductive choice to promoting community forest management and adaptive disaster responses. Reproductive rights, including access to reproductive health services, are a precondition for women’s empowerment and could avert environmental degradation. Major improvements are feasible. Many examples attest to the opportunities for using the existing health infrastructure to deliver reproductive health services at little additional cost and to the importance of community involvement. Promising avenues are also emerging to reduce the adverse impacts of disasters responses and innovative social protection schemes. Disaster responses include community- based risk-mapping and more progressive distribution of reconstructed assets.

Equity Based Green Economic Policies:

Several key principles could be broader equity concerns into policy-making through stakeholder involvement in analysis that considers:

(a) Non-income dimensions of well-being, through such tools as the MPI.


(b) Indirect and direct effects of policy.

(c) Compensation mechanisms for adversely affected people.

(d) Risk of extreme weather that, however unlikely could prove catastrophic.

(vi) Participation and Accountability:

Process freedoms are central to human deve­lopment and have both intrinsic and instrumental value. Major disparities in power translate into large disparities in environmental outcomes. But the converse is that greater empowerment can bring about positive environmental outcomes equitably. Democracy is important, but beyond that, national institutions need to be accountable and inclusive especially with respect to affected groups, including women to enable civil society and foster popular access to information.

A prerequisite for participation is open, transparent and inclusive deliberative pro­cesses but in practice, barriers to effective participation persist. Despite positive change, further efforts are needed to strengthen the possibilities for some tradi­tionally excluded groups, such as indigenous peoples, to play a more active role. And increasing evidence points to the importance of enabling women’s involve­ment, both in itself and because it has been linked to more sustainable outcomes.


Financing Investments:

Important findings with regard to financing investments are as follows:

(i) Investment needs are large, but they do not exceed current spending on other sectors such as the military. The estimated annual investment to achieve univer­sal access to modern sources of energy is less than an eighth of annual subsidies for fossils fuels.

(ii) Public sector commitments are important (the generosity of some donors stands out), and the private sector is a major and critical source of finance. Public efforts can catalyse private sector is a major and critical source of finance. Public efforts can catalyse private investment, emphasizing the importance of increasing public funds and supporting a positive investment climate and local capacity.

(iii) Data constraints make it hard to monitor private and domestic public sector spend­ing on environmental sustainability. Available information allows only official development assistance flows to be examined.

(iv) Funding architecture is complex and fragmented, reducing its effectiveness and making spending hard to monitor. There is much to learn from earlier commit­ments to aid effectiveness made in Paris.

Development Efforts for Human Resources in India:

Development efforts for human resources in India in following parts:

(i) Education,

(ii) Health and

(iii) Social Welfare.

1. Education:

Education is a social process. The form and content of education of any age and society is a product of society-education dialectics. The transformation in the education system of India from the ancient gurukula system to today’s virtual learning system is a reflec­tion of the changing social context.

The new social realities, particularly the interplay between democratization of education, emergence of knowledge society and globaliza­tion, greatly influence the educational processes in all societies. In this context, the qual­ity of education assumes added importance and becomes the primary concern of all the stakeholders in education.

Development of human resources has been assigned a crucial role in the development strategy of the country. India is an over populated country so it needs to emphasis on the development of human resources. Quality education is highly essential to ensure acce­lerated pace of economic development and social changes.

For this purpose, effective strategies are required to improve the literacy rate and train the manpower available in the country. The basic objective of the overall strategy should be to make the available manpower as an asset of the country. In this direction, education helps in creating con­ducive environment for the development.

Education Policy:

The national policy of education (1986) and program of action (1992) lay down the objectives and features of Indian education policy.

It Includes:

(i) Development of International cooperation and peaceful coexistence through education.

(ii) Promotion of equality. It could be achieved by providing equal access and equal condition of success to children.

(iii) A common educational structure (10 +2 +3) for the whole of India.

(iv) Education for women’s equality. The Indian education should be used as a tool to change the status of women in the society.

(v) Equalization of SC population with others in the matter of education. This is ensured by giving incentives to parents who send their children to schools, pro­viding scholarship to SC students for higher studies, reservation of seats in insti­tution of higher studies in India, recruitment of SC teachers.

(vi) Opening of primary schools in tribal area for promotion of education in ST people.

(vii) Development of curriculum and study material in the language of tribal people.

(viii) Emphasis on the education of minorities.

(ix) Adult education – Initiation of National Literacy Mission, for teaching illiterate people of age group 15-35. And making them aware of the day-to-day realities of their surroundings.

(x) Special emphasis on early childhood care and education by opening up of day care centres, promotion of child focused programs.

(xi) Increasing the scope of Operation Blackboard for up-liftment of standard of pri­mary education in India.

(xii) Secondary education curriculum should expose the students to differentiated roles of science, the humanities, and social science.

(xiii) Redesigning of courses of higher education to meet the increasing demand of professionalism.

(xiv) Providing enhanced support to the research work in Universities. Efforts to relate ancient Indian knowledge with the contemporary reality.

(xv) Setting up of Open Universities and Distance Learning centres to promote the goal of education as a lifelong process.

(xvi) A combined perspective of technical and management education.

(xvii) Minimum exposure to computers and training in their use to be the part of pro­fessional education.

(xviii) The All India Council for Technical Education will be responsible for mainte­nance of norms and standards, accreditation, funding, and monitoring of techni­cal and management education in India.

(xix) Multiple task performance for teachers such as teaching, research, development of learning resource material, extension and management of the institution.

(xx) Providing teachers a better deal to make education system in India work in proper way, as teachers are the backbone of the system. Providing better facilities to institutions and improved services to students.

(xxi) Development of languages in great deal.

(xxii) Measures to be taken for easy accessibility of books at minimum costs to all sections of students.

(xxiii) Strengthening of science education for the development of spirit of inquiry and objectivity in the minds of students.

(xxiv) The purpose of examination to be to bring about qualitative improvement in education. It should discourage memorization.

(xxv) Methods of teacher recruitment to be recognized one to ensure merit and objec­tivity in the system.

(xxvi) Overhauling of the system of teacher education and establishment of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) to organize courses for elementary school teachers.

(xxvii) Reviewing of educational developments by the Central Advisory Board of Edu­cation (CABE).

(xxviii) Involvement of local communities for school improvement programmes.

(xxix) Review of the implementation of the parameters of the policy every five years.

(xxx) Strengthening the base of pyramid of Indian population for proper development of education system in India.

2. Health:

The health of a nation is an essential component of development, vital to the nation’s economic growth and internal stability. Assuring a minimal level of health care to the population is a critical constituent of the development process. Since Independence, India has built up a vast health infrastructure and health personnel at primary, second­ary, and tertiary care in public, voluntary, and private sectors.

For producing skilled human resources, a number of medical and paramedical institutions including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) institutions have been set up. Considerable achievements have been made over the last six decades to improve the health standards, such as life expectancy, child mortality, infant mortality, and maternal mortality.

The strong link between poverty and ill health needs to be recog­nized. High health care costs can lead to entry into or exacerbation of poverty. The im­portance of public provisioning of quality health care to enable access to affordable and reliable health services cannot be underestimated. This is specially so, in the context of preventing the non-poor from entering into poverty or in terms of reducing the suffering of those who are already below poverty line. The country has to deal with rising costs of health care and growing expectations of the people. The challenge of quality health ser­vices in remote rural regions has to be urgently met.

3. Social Welfare:

Social welfare aimed at human development is an important objective of development planning. While economic growth is extremely important, it has to be accompanied by improvement in the quality of people for the development process to be sustainable in the medium to long run. However, it should be inclusive in nature.

The notion of inclu­sive growth relates essentially to equality of opportunity to all for a productive and mean­ingful life with freedom and dignity. It is much broader than the objective of poverty alleviation. It encompasses human development and economic and social mobility for all sections of the society, and in particular, for the disadvantaged and marginalized popula­tion group of the society.

Features of Indian Social Welfare System:

Salient features of Indian social welfare system are as follows:

(i) Minimum needs (food, cloth, housing, accessing education, health and drinking water) and social security programmes

(ii) There are also services for the blind, deaf, mentally retarded, and orthopedic ally handicapped. Programs for displaced persons; rural community development

(iii) Programs for women include welfare grants, women’s adult education, working women’s hostels, family planning and maternity care

(iv) Special measures are aimed at rehabilitating juvenile delinquents, sex-workers, and convicts

(v) Other social welfare programs cover – emergency relief programs for natural disasters like – drought, flood, earthquake etc. and eradicating untouchability etc.

(vi) Apart from the above mentioned initiatives, the Government and NGOs are striv­ing hard and working towards social sector like-

(a) Organizing awareness campaigns at various level on Social Evils ( Women discrimination, child marriages, all are equal, Anti-dowry, Anti Alcoholism, No Tobacco, Child Trafficking, female infanticide and witchcraft/sorcery)

(b) Rehabilitation centres for Social Vulnerable groups (Migration, Persons with disability, Senior Citizens and Orphans/Street Children)

(c) Providing Social Security Schemes (Right to Food, Housing, Pension-family-maternal benefits and employment).

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