Understanding Development: Perspectives, Measurement and Sustainability Notes 9th Social Science

Understanding Development: Perspectives, Measurement and Sustainability Notes 9th Social Science

9th Social Science Lesson 7 Notes in English

7. Understanding Development: Perspectives, Measurement and Sustainability


  • The word ‘development’ is used widely. It refers to the progress of a particular field or a particular person. Similarly, the economic progress of a country is known as ‘economic development’.
  • However, the interpretation of the concept development keeps on changing from time to time, from person to person and its meaning gets extended further.

Different Perspectives About Development

  • Every human being has an ambition or desire of his or her own to achieve progress in life.
  • Similarly, we have ideas about how a country should progress. If our thinking turns towards progress and about the ways to achieve the many goals for progress, it leads to development.
  • From the above diagram, you will notice that other than income, people seek freedom to grow on their own.
  • Thus, development refers to the improvement in quality of life such as higher income, better education, better health and nutrition, less poverty and more equal opportunity.
  • The term ‘economic development’ refers to the overall growth of all sectors of the economy by adoption of new technologies.
  • Economic development improves the living standards of the people as well as the status of the country.

Indicators of Economic Development

The major indicators to measure the level of economic development are Net National Product (NNP), Per Capita Income (PCI), Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and Human Development Index (HDI).

Net National Product

  • The Net National Product (NNP) is considered as a true measure of national output. It is also known as national income.
  • A rise in per capita income means an increase in aggregate real output. Hence, this is a better indicator than national income for measuring development.
  • For measuring a country’s development, its income is considered to be one of the most important factors.
  • Countries with higher income are considered to be more developed than those with lesser income.
  • So, income itself is considered to be one of the indicators of economic development.

9th Social Science Book

9th Social Book Back Questions

9th Social Online Test

Per Capita Income

  • However, for comparing the development of various countries, total income is not an useful measure.
  • Since countries have different populations, comparing total income will not be suggestive of what an average person is likely to earn.
  • Are people in one country better off than others in a different country? The average income is calculated by dividing the country’s total income by its total population. The average income is also called per capita income.

  • Calculations on the per capita income of all countries are calculated only in the US dollar in order to compare International level.

Purchasing Power Parity

  • Purchasing power parity is defined as the number of units of a country’s currency required to buy the same amount of goods and services in the domestic market as one dollar would buy in the US.
  • The technique of purchasing power parity allows us to estimate what exchange between two currencies is needed to express the accurate purchasing power of the two currencies in the respective countries.
  • Recently, India became the third largest economy in terms of PPP. China became the largest defeating the US to the second position.

Human Development

  • Human resource is necessary for the progress of any country. The term ‘human resources’ refers to the collective abilities of people, which can be utilised in the production sector.
  • Human resource development means the development of a person’s physical and mental abilities through education, health care and training.
  • Therefore, investment in education and health of people can result in a high rate of returns in the future for a country.
  • For example, if a child is invested with good education and health, he or she may turn to be very productive in future in the form of higher earnings and greater contribution to the society.
  • Human Development Index (HDI) Which indicates all round development of the people in the society.
  • In the past, economists believed that the rate of economic growth of nations could be increased only by increasing investment in physical capital.
  • But they have realised over time that investment in human capital is as important as investment in physical capital.

Sustainability of Development

  • Sustainable economic development is taken to mean development without damaging the environment and not compromising with the needs of the future generation.
  • The consequences of environmental degradation do not respect national or state boundaries.
  • Sustainability of development is comparatively a new area of knowledge in which scientists, economists, philosophers and other social scientists are working together.
  • Natural resources can be divided into renewable resources and non-renewable resources.

  • Groundwater is an example of a renewable resource. The question arises as to how sustainable development is possible if the resources are over-used rather than getting replenished.
  • Non-renewable resources get exhausted after certain number of years of extracting and using them and they cannot be replenished.
  • To achieve real sustainability, we need to balance economic, social and environmental sustainability in equal harmony.
  • In general, the question of development or progress is continuous.
  • At all times, as a member of society and as individuals, we need to ask where we want to go, what we wish to become and what our goals are.

Policies for Sustainable Development

Use of Non-conventional Sources of Energy

  • India depends on thermal and hydro power plants to meet its power needs. Both these sources have an adverse environmental impact.
  • Thermal power plants emit large quantities of carbon dioxide, which pollute the environment.

Solar Power in India

  • Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity either directly using photovoltaic cells or indirectly using concentrated solar power.
  • Solar panels absorb the sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. A solar electric system can reliably produce electricity for our home and offices.
  • These distributed solar systems are often installed by home and business owners to reduce their electricity costs.
  • Solar power in India is a fast-developing industry. Tamil Nadu is the state with highest installed solar capacity in India.
  • Tamil Nadu is one of the leading solar power producing states in India. As on 31 July 2017, the total installed capacity in Tamil Nadu is 1,697 MW.

Environmental Policies in India

  • Environmental policies in India have been evolved considerably over the past three decades.
  • These policies have covered a wide range of issues such as air, water pollution, waste management and biodiversity conservation.
  • India faces challenges in economic development, which has to be achieved with limited resources, minimum externalities and in the presence of an uncertain climate.
  • One of the approaches to overcome this challenge is through the path of sustainable development.
  • The Supreme Court of India has interpreted and introduced new changes in environmental protection through a series of directions and judgements.
  • Article 51A(g) of the Constitution states that “it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.”
  • Development increases the quality of life. This means that people will have higher incomes, better education, better health and nutrition, less poverty and more equality of opportunity.

The Growth Story of Tamil Nadu

  • Tamil Nadu is one of the states that achieving rapid progress over a relatively short period, though it started from appalling levels of poverty, deprivation and inequality.
  • It is during that period, Tamil Nadu is much to the consternation of many economists, initiated bold social programmes such as universal midday meals in primary schools and started putting in place an extensive social infrastructure – schools, health centres, roads, public transport, water supply, electricity connections, and much more.
  • Today, Tamil Nadu has some of the best public services among all Indian states, and many of them are accessible to all on a non-discriminatory basis. First, active social policies constitute an important aspect of this shared experience.
  • This is particularly striking in the vigour of public education, but it also extends to other domains, such as health care, social security and public amenities.
  • Second, these states have typically followed universalistic principles in the provision of essential public services. This is especially noticeable in the case of Tamil Nadu. Third, these efforts have been greatly facilitated by a functioning and comparatively efficient administration.
  • The governments involved have delivered their services in traditional lines and these ‘old fashioned’ public institutions-functioning schools, health centres, government offices, Gram Panchayat and co-operatives have left much room for private initiatives at a later stage of development.
  • Fourth, dealing with social inequality has also been an important part of these shared experiences. In each case, the historical burden of social inequality has been significantly reduced in one way or another.
  • In Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, principles of equal citizenship and universal entitlements were forged through sustained social reform movements as well as fierce struggles for equality on the part of under-privileged groups-especially Dalits,.
  • Fifth, these experiences of rapid social progress are not just a reflection of constructive state policies but also of people’s active involvement in democratic politics.
  • The social movements that fought traditional inequalities are part of this larger pattern. Last but not least, there is no evidence that the cultivation of human capability has been at the cost of conventional economic success, such as fast economic growth.
  • Tamil Nadu have some of the highest per capita incomes and lowest poverty rates among all Indian states.
  • Economic growth, in turn, has enabled these states to sustain and consolidate active social policies. This is an important example of the complementarity between economic growth and public support.

Source: An Uncertain Glory by Nobel laureate Prof. Amartya Sen.

More to Know:

1. Literacy rate of Tamil Nadu is the second highest among the southern states. Tamil Nadu’s literacy rate is higher than the national average. The enrolment for higher education in Tamil Nadu is the highest in India.

2. Human Development Report of the world prepared and released by UNDP

3. The Ministry of Human Resource Development is responsible for the development of human resources in India. Its headquarters is situated at Shastri Bhavan in New Delhi.

4. Final value of total goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time, normaly a year is known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Leave a Reply

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