We know all about development in India and its endless scope. But can this development be measured? Yes, economics has measures such as Per Capita Income and Human Development Index that help us put development in quantitative terms. Let us learn all about them.
Development and its Meaning
Development in economics refers to an improvement in the quality of life and well-being of the people of the economy. But to an individual, development can mean something that is distinctive to him/her.
Thus, individuals have different ideas of what development means to them. This is because they come from different backgrounds and perceive different things to be actual quality improvements to their lives and livelihoods. In fact, what might mean ‘development’ to one individual may be destructive to another individual or community.
A classic example of this is the construction of a dam. Industrialists see it as a sign of development. But the people who are resultantly uninhabited and displaced from their homes see it as destructive to their livelihood. This was the case of the Narmada Bachao Andolan in India.
Thus, individuals or communities have different ideas of development in India and that is driven by their development goals. They have certain ideas of what can improve their present condition and it is on this basis that they perceive development.
This creates a concern for the policymaker. He/she must target to achieve that level of development that can encompass everyone. In this, the development goals of everyone must be met fairly enough so that the benefits of development can accrue to one and all.
Goals of Development in India
There are certain things that can be considered as development goals at large. This is because of the universal nature of these factors. This is in the sense that these are goals almost everyone desires and must be strived for. These are:
1] Per Capita Income (PCI)
PCI is the most common constituent of development. It is the total income or national product of the country divided by its total population. It indicates the average income accruing to each individual in the economy. The World Development Report of 2006 indicated that the PCI figure for India was 26,000 crore. Development in India must focus on increasing the PCI in order to ensure a better standard of living to one and all.
Note that PCI differs from GDP in the sense that the Gross Domestic Product gives the total value of final goods and services produced in a country. It excludes the factor income from abroad, which is included in the calculation of Gross National Product (GNP). But in either case, no concern is given to an average value or to population, unlike the case of PCI. High PCI might be due to high GDP or not.
2] Infant Mortality Rate
Also known as the child mortality rate, it is defined as the number of deaths of infants out of every 1000 before completing one year of age. A low figure for IMR is good for development in India because it indicates improved healthcare facilities. The last Census in 2011 revealed the figure to 30.16 for India.
3] Sex Ratio
This indicates the number of females per one thousand males. It is an important figure to indicate the number of females dying in a country due to gender bias in our country or in some cases, owing to female feticide. A high ratio indicates societal progress in removing the gender gap. The figure was 940 females per 1000 males as per the Census, 2011.
4] Life Expectancy
It is defined as the expected life at birth or the number of years an individual is expected to live. The higher the value, the progress in indicates in health and nutrition facilities. This is important for development in India. As per the 2011 Census, the figure is 67 years for males and 72 years for females.
5] Literacy Rate
One of the most crucial indicators of development is the literacy rate. It indicates the proportion of the population that is literate and able to read and write. The literacy rate in India was 74% according to the Census. While India has progressed, there is still more to achieve in terms of literacy.
Infrastructure refers to roads, railways, construction, bridges, airports, dams, power, telecommunication, etc. These are the building blocks of a country’s path to development. Development in India and the pace at which it is achieved depends a lot on the infrastructure of the country.
Human Development Index
It is seen that PCI or income figures are not enough to indicate actual development. The needs of the people extend beyond just income to other factors that are required for a healthy living. Two other important factors noted for achieving development are literacy rate and life expectancy. These indicate the education level of the people and the healthcare available to them. The combination of these leads to the concept of Human Development Index.
The Human Development Report of 2010 introduced this concept to rank countries on the basis of their PCI, life expectancy, and literacy rates. Currently, India ranks 131 out of 193 countries in HDI and still has a long way to go in achieving development.
(Source: Google Images)
Solved Example for You
Question: Why is PCI important to determine development?
Answer: PCI of a country indicates the income per capita or the average income of the country. It gives an idea as to the financial resources of the country. These are important to achieve other development goals such as literacy, healthcare and to provide infrastructure. Thus, PCI is a critical factor in determining development.