I. Development

Development has many aspects. The purpose of this chapter is to enable students to understand this idea. They have to understand that people have different perspectives on development and there are ways by which we can arrive at common indicators for development. To do this, we have used situations that they can respond to in an intuitive manner; we have also presented analysis that is more complex and macro in nature.

How can countries or states be compared using some selected development indicators is another question that students would read about in this chapter. Economic development can be measured and income is the most common method for measuring development. However, the income method, though useful, has several weaknesses. Hence, we need newer ways of looking at development using indicators of quality of life and environmental sustainability.

It is necessary for you to expect the students to respond actively in the classroom and on a topic such as the above, there would be wide variation in opinion and possibility of debate. Allow students to argue their point of view. At the end of each section there are a few questions and activities. These serve two purposes: first, they recap the ideas discussed in the section and second, they enable better understanding of the themes discussed by bringing the learners closer to their real-life situations.

There are certain terms used in this chapter that would require clarification — Per Capita Income, Literacy Rate, Infant Mortality Rate, Attendance Ratio, Life Expectancy, Gross Enrolment Ratio, and Human Development Index. Though data pertaining to these terms are provided, these would need further explanation. You may also need to clarify the concept of purchasing power parity that is used to calculate per capita income in Table 1.6. It is necessary to keep in mind that these terms are used as an aid to the discussion and not something to be memorised.

Sources for Information

The data for this chapter is taken from reports published by the Government of India (Economic Survey, Report of the National Family Health Survey and Handbook of Statistics on the Indian Economy), United Nations Development Programme (Human Development Report) and World Bank (World Development Indicators). Many of these reports are being published every year. It may be interesting to look up these reports if they are available in your school library. If not, you may log on to the websites of these institutions (www.budgetindia.nic.in, www.undp.org, www.worldbank.org). Data is also available from the Reserve Bank’s Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy, (available at www.rbi.org).

The idea of development or progress has always been with us. We have aspirations or desires about what we would like to do and how we would like to live. Similarly, we have ideas about what a country should be like. What are the essential things that we require? Can life be better for all? How should people live together? Can there be more equality? Development involves thinking about these questions and about the ways in which we can work towards achieving these goals. This is a complex task and in this chapter we shall make a beginning at understanding development. You will learn more about these issues in greater depth in higher classes. Also, you will find answers to many of these questions not just in economics but also in your course in history and political science. This is because the way we live today is influenced by the past. We can’t desire for change without being aware of this. In the same way, it is only through a democratic political process that these hopes and possibilities can be achieved in real life.


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Let   us   try   to   imagine   what
development or progress is likely to mean to different persons listed in Table 1.1. What are their aspirations? You will find that some columns are partially filled. Try to complete the table. You can also add any other category of persons.


Category of Person

  1. Landless rural labourers
  2. Prosperous farmers from Punjab
  3. Farmers who depend only on rain for growing crops
  4. A rural woman from a land owning family
  5. Urban unemployed youth
  6. A boy from a rich urban family
  7. A girl from a rich urban family
  8. An adivasi from Narmada valley

Developmental Goals / Aspirations

  1. More days of work and better wages; local school is able to provide quality education for their children; there is no social discrimination and they too can become leaders in the village.
  2. Assured a high family income through higher support prices for their crops and through hardworking and cheap labourers; they should be able to settle their children abroad.

    7. She gets as much freedom as her brother and is able to decide what she wants to do in life. She is able to pursue her studies abroad.

Having filled Table 1.1, let us now examine it. Do all of these persons have the same notion of development or progress? Most likely not. Each one of them seeks different things. They seek things that are most important for them, i.e., that which can fulfil their aspirations or desires. In fact, at times, two persons or groups of persons may seek things which are conflicting. A girl expects as much freedom and opportunity as her brother, and that he also shares in the household work. Her brother may not like this. Similarly, to get more electricity, industrialists may want more dams. But this may submerge the land and disrupt the lives of people who are displaced – such as tribals. They might resent this and may prefer small check dams or tanks to irrigate their land.

So, two things are quite clear: one, different persons can have different developmental goals and two, what may be development for one may not be development for the other. It may even be destructive for the other.


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If you go over Table 1.1 again, you will notice one common thing: what people desire are regular work, better wages, and decent price for their crops or other products that they produce. In other words, they want more income.
Besides seeking more income, one- way or the other, people also seek things like equal treatment, freedom, security, and respect of others. They resent discrimination. All these are important goals. In fact, in some cases, these may be more important than more income or more consumption because material goods are not all that you need to live.

Money, or material things that one can buy with it, is one factor on which our life depends. But the quality of our life also depends on non-material things mentioned above. If it is not obvious to you, then just think of the role of your friends in your life. You may desire their friendship. Similarly, there are many things that are not easily measured but they mean a lot to our lives. These are often ignored.

However, it will be wrong to conclude that what cannot be measured is not important.
Consider another example. If you get a job in a far off place, before accepting it you would try to consider many factors, apart from income, such as facilities for your family, working atmosphere, or opportunity to learn. In another case, a job may give you less pay but may offer regular employment that enhances your sense of security. Another job, however, may offer high pay but no job security and also leave no time for your family. This will reduce your sense of security and freedom.

Similarly, for development, people look at a mix of goals. It is true that if women are engaged in paid work, their dignity in the household and society increases. However, it is also the case that if there is respect for women there would be more sharing of housework and a greater acceptance of women working outside. A safe and secure environment may allow more women to take up a variety of jobs or run a business.
Hence, the developmental goals that people have are not only about better income but also about other important things in life.


  1. Why do different persons have different notions of development? Which of the following explanations is more important and why?
    (a) Because people are different.
    (b) Because life situations of persons are different.

    Explanation- everyone life situation is different for a farmer development will be he get good price for his production for a business man getting profit for a poor worker getting good wages for his work and also employment and for women getting equal sellary for her work like men are getting and many more
  2. Do the following two statements mean the same? Justify your answer.
    (a) People have different developmental goals.
    (b) People have conflicting developmental goals.
    Yes, Both the statements are true but their meanings are different. Two people may have different developmental goals buy they need not always be conflicting. For example; construction of a flyover to reduce waiting time at a railway crossing can be the developmental goal for an office worker. But if the construction of the flyover necessitates demolition of slums, it can be contradictory for the slum dwellers. But on the other hand, Twenty four hour electricity supply would be developmental goal for almost each and every person.
  3. Give some examples where factors other than income are important aspects of our lives.
    Ans:- a.)
    People need proper respect from the society to improve better.
    b). They also need proper sanitation facilities to stay healthy and focus on their work.
    c)  And also they need better education facilities for the education of their children.
  4. Explain some of the important ideas of the above section in your own words.
    The above section is completely based on income and other different goals of people. Everyone has its own goal but besides seeking more and more opportunities to earn they want freedom, respect and security as well. The main factor on which an life of a particular person is dependent is income but quality of life also matters. One cannot keep chasing materialistic things.


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National development

If, as we have seen above, individuals seek different goals, then their notion of national development is also likely to be different. Discuss among yourselves on what India should do for development.
Most likely, you would find that different students in the class have given different answers to the above question. In fact, you might yourself think of many different answers and not be too sure of any of these. It is very important to keep in mind that different persons could have different as well as conflicting notions of a country’s development.
However, can all the ideas be considered equally important? Or, if there are conflicts how does one decide? What would be a fair and just path for all? We also have to think whether there is a better way of doing things. Would the idea benefit a large number of people or only a small group? National development means thinking about these questions.


If even the idea of what constitutes development can be varied and conflicting, then certainly there can be differences about ways of developing. If you  know of   any   such controversy,  try  to  find  out arguments advanced by different people. You may do so by talking to different persons or you may find it from
newspapers and television.


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How to compare different countries or states?

You might ask if development can mean different things, how come some countries are generally called developed and others under - developed? Before we come to this, let us consider another question.

When we compare different things, they could have similarities as well as differences. Which aspects do we use to compare them? Let us look at students in the class itself.  How do we compare different students? They differ in their height, health, talents and interests. The healthiest student may not be the most studious one. The most intelligent student may not be the friendliest one. So, how do we compare students? The criterion we may use depends on the purpose of comparison. We use different criterion to choose a sports team, a debate team, a music team or a team to organise a picnic. Still, if for some purpose, we have to choose the criterion for the all-round progress of children in the class,  how  shall  we do it?

Usually we take one or more important characteristics of persons and compare them based on these characteristics. Of course, there can be differences about what are important characteristics that should form the basis of comparison: friendliness and spirit of cooperation, creativity or marks secured?

This is true of development too. For comparing countries, their income is considered to be one of the most important attributes. Countries with higher income are more developed than others with less income. This is based on the understanding that more income means more of all things that human beings need. Whatever people like, and should have, they will be able to get with greater income. So, greater income itself is considered to be one important goal.
Now, what is the income of a country? Intuitively, the income of the country is the income of all the residents of the country. This gives us the total income of the country.

However, for comparison between countries, total income is not such an useful measure. Since, countries have different populations, comparing total income will not tell us what an average person is likely to earn. Are people in one country better off than others in a different country? Hence, we compare the average income which is the total income of the country divided by its total population. The average income is also called per capita income.

In World Development Reports, brought out by the World Bank, this criterion is used in classifying countries. Countries with per capita income of US$ 12,056 per annum and above in 2017, are called rich countries and those with per capita income of US$ 955 or less are called low-income countries. India comes in the category of low middle income countries because its per capita income in 2017 was just US$ 1820 per annum. The rich countries, excluding countries of Middle East and certain other small countries, are generally called developed countries.


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