Practice Question – Human development approach affirms that education and health-care growth are more important than economic growth. Discuss this issue in the light of post-liberalized Indian society. [UPSC 2015]

Approach  – Introduction, What is human development approach?, Explain how factors like education and health are important than economic growth, Outline the relevance and issues of human development in post-liberalised Indian society. 



Development refers to a process which is planned and desired by the society. Planning is an essential component of development. Development is value based. It has several dimensions like social, economic, cultural etc. It implies the way in which a planned change is brought into effect.

The idea of human development has circulated in policy circles and public debate. One vehicle of communication has been the annual Human Development Report produced by the United Nations Development Programme. The first report was published in 1990, and subsequent issues have sought to bring the human development perspective to bear on a range
of issues.



James Midgley conceives social development as a “process of planned social change designed to promote the well-being of the population as a whole in conjunction with a dynamic process of economic development” The goal of social development in the context of modern welfare is to produce a social well-being that makes people capable of acting and making their own decisions in the broadest sense. Although social development aims to promote the social and economic well-being of societies or social groups, such units are always composed of individual actors. From a reflexive perspective, social development is conceived as development of the individual human being and is therefore associated with self-development. It stands for making specific individuals capable of acting, who then, with the help of participation, serve as motors to drive forward the economic and social well-being of the community as a whole.



It is a broad term that generally refers to the sustained, concerted effort of policymakers and community to promote the standard of living and economic health in a specific area. Such effort can involve multiple areas including development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives. It should be noted that economic development differs from economic growth. Whereas economic development is a policy intervention endeavor with aims of economic and social well-being of people, economic growth is a phenomenon of market productivity and rise in GDP. Consequently, as economist Amartya Sen points out: “economic
growth is one aspect of the process of economic development. Economic development was concerned in the expansion of people’s entitlements and their corresponding capabilities,
morbidity, nourishment, literacy, education, and other socio-economic indicators.

Economic development typically involves improvements in a variety of indicators such as literacy rates, life expectancy, and poverty rates. GDP does not take into account other aspects
such as leisure time, environmental quality, freedom, or social justice; alternative measures of economic well-being have been proposed (more). Essentially, a country’s economic development is related to its human development, which encompasses, among other things, health and education.



Human development is a development model that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full
potential and lead productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs and interests, thus bringing the focus back onto people. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is thus about expanding the choices people have, to lead lives that they value and improving the human condition so that people will get the chance to lead full lives. And it is thus about much more than economic growth, which is only a means —if a very important one —of enlarging people’s choices. Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities —the range of things that people can do or be in life. Human development disperses the concentration of the distribution of goods and services that underprivileged people need and center its ideas on human decisions. By investing in people, we enable growth and empower people thus developing human capabilities. The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources and social services, needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community. Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.



The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people’s choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and can change over time. People often value achievements that do not show
up at all, or not immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical
violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and a sense of participation in community activities. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment
for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.



Human Development Index is a measurement done through life expectancy, literacy rate and the standard of living and education. This index shows whether a country is a developed, developing or non-developed country and also it shows in which level the effect in its economy affects the standard of living in that country. The Human Development Index was first developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990 and is being presented by United Nations Development Program in annual Human Development Report since 1993.

Human Development Index considers the below three key dimensions in the countries:

  • Long and Healthy Life: the measurement is done with the average life expectancy.
  • Knowledge: the measurement is done with the literacy rate (2/3) and the percentage of the registrations to primary and high schools and universities.
  • Decent Standard of Living: the measurement is done with per capita income and the calculation of the purchasing power in US Dollar.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us
close slider