• Both growth and development refer to changes over a period of time.
  • The difference is that growth is quantitative and value neutral. It may have a positive or a negative sign. 
  • Development means a qualitative change which is always value positive.
  • Development occurs when there is a positive change in quality.
  • A man of vision and compassion, Pakistani economist Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq created the Human Development Index in 1990. According to him, development is all about enlarging people‘s choices in order to lead long, healthy lives with dignity.
  • The United Nations Development Programme has used his concept of human development to publish the Human Development Report annually since 1990. 
  • Nobel Laureate Prof Amartya Sen saw an increase in freedom (or decrease in unfreedom) as the main objective of development. Interestingly, increasing freedoms is also one of the most effective ways of bringing about development.
  • His work explores the role of social and political institutions and processes in increasing freedom. 


  • Equity refers to making equal access to opportunities available to everybody. The opportunities available to people must be equal irrespective of their gender, race, income and in the Indian case, caste.
  • Sustainability means continuity in the availability of opportunities. To have sustainable human development, each generation must have the same opportunities. All environmental, financial and human resources must be used keeping in mind the future. 
  • Productivity here means human labour productivity or productivity in terms of human work. Such productivity must be constantly enriched by building capabilities in people. Ultimately, it is people who are the real wealth of nations. Therefore, efforts to increase their knowledge, or provide better health facilities ultimately leads to better work efficiency.
  • Empowerment means to have the power to make choices. Such power comes from increasing freedom and capability. Good governance and people-oriented policies are required to empower people.


(a) The income approach;

(b) The welfare approach;

(c) Minimum needs approach; and

(d) Capabilities approach

(a)Income Approach This is one of the oldest approaches to human development. Human development is seen as being linked to income. The idea is that the level of income reflects the level of freedom an individual enjoys. Higher the level of income, the higher is the level of human development.
(b) Welfare Approach This approach looks at human beings as beneficiaries or targets of all development activities. The approach argues for higher government expenditure on education, health, social secondary and amenities. People are not participants in development but only passive recipients. The government is responsible for increasing levels of human development by maximising expenditure on welfare.
(c) Basic Needs ApproachThis approach was initially proposed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Six basic needs i.e.: health, education, food, water supply, sanitation, and housing were identified. The question of human choices is ignored and the emphasis is on the provision of basic needs of defined sections.
(d) Capability ApproachThis approach is associated with Prof. Amartya Sen. Building human capabilities in the areas of health, education and access to resources is the key to increasing human development.


  • The human development index (HDI) ranks the countries based on their performance in the key areas of health, education and access to resources.
  • Each of these dimensions is given a weightage of 1/3.
  • These rankings are based on a score between 0 to 1. The closer a score is to one, the greater is the level of human development and viva-versa.
  • Health indicator- life expectancy at birth. A higher life expectancy means that people have a greater chance of living longer and healthier lives.
  • Education indicator- The adult literacy rate and the gross enrolment ratio represent access to knowledge. The number of adults who are able to read and write and the number of children enrolled in schools show how easy or difficult it is to access knowledge in a particular country. 
  • Access to resources is measured in terms of purchasing power.
  • The human development index measures attainments in human development.
  • it is not the most reliable measure. This is because it does not say anything about the distribution.
  • The human poverty index is related to the human development index. This index measures the shortfall in human development.
  • It is a non-income measure.
  • The probability of not surviving till the age of 40, 
  • the adult illiteracy rate,
  • the number of people who do not have access to clean water, and the number of small children who are underweight are all taken into account to show the shortfall in human development in any region. Often the human poverty index is more revealing than the human development index.
  • The Human Development index and the Human Poverty index are two important indices to measure human development used by the UNDP.


  • Size of the territory and per capita income are not directly related to human development. Often smaller countries have done better than larger ones in human development. Similarly, relatively poorer nations have been ranked higher than richer neighbours in terms of human development.
  • within India, Kerala performs much better than Punjab and Gujarat in human development despite having lower per capita income.(Y- just think all the indicator of HDI .i.e health , education and access to resources and compare)
  • India was 126th in Human Development Index as per Human Development Report, 2006. According to HDI, 2013, India’s rank has further gone down to 136 with a score of 0.586 which falls in the medium human development category. 

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