According to Wikipedia:
Developing countries are in general countries which have not achieved a significant degree of industrialization relative to their populations, and which have a low standard of living. There is a strong correlation between low income and high population growth, both within and between countries.
The concept of “development” is pretty well defined and is measured in terms of HDI (Human Development Index). It’s interesting to note that the index was developed in 1990 by Amartya Sen (Indian Economist & Nobel Laurette), Mehbub ul Haq (Pakistani Economist), Meghnad Desai (London School of Economics) and Gustav Ranis (Yale University). The value of HDI lies from 0 to 1.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child welfare. It is used to determine and indicate whether a country is a developed, developing, or underdeveloped country and also to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life.
The 2006 UN Human Development Index Report provides the HDI for 2004. The top 10 nations are:
- Norway 0.965
- Iceland 0.960
- Australia 0.957
- Ireland 0.956
- Sweden 0.951
- Canada 0.950
- Japan 0.949
- United States 0.948
- Switzerland 0.947
- Netherlands 0.947
The HDI for India lies somewhere between 0.500 to 0.600. Since the HDI points to the year 2004, we have no need to worry. We have a come a long way since then. In fact, each day has been (and is) an big leap. Experts, scientist, philosophers, politcians… all around the world have announced that India (and China) will be the next Super Powers.
Sounds satisfying and ecstatic. Isn’t it? 🙂
But is it really the reality?
We have made exponential progress in almost every technical and modern field. Today we have internet in almost every gully. The electronic items and luxury products are in everyone’s reach. Every kid in your family has a personal cellphone.
But does that really mean that India, as a nation, is developing?
You might think that it’s stupid of me to talk about such developments and still question about “development”, which is nothing but plain measurement. If you are then let me put some simple questions for the Reality Check.
- How big is your India? What is the percentage of India that comprises of villages and tribal areas?
- The price of tubelight might not have risen, but are you aware of the price of kerosene (if available)?
- KFC’s providing an amazing “Bucket offer”. What about the rise in price of Wheat and Rice? …and aa yes. Which country does the KFC belong to?
- You oppose Medha Patkar’s Narmada Bachao Andolan because the stupid movement is disrupting the government from building the proposed 30 large, 135 medium and 3000 small dams; which will provide ample water and electricity, and hence help in achieving a higher HDI. But did you think about the rural (repeatedly called handful) people who will be dislocated because of these 30 large, 135 medium and 3000 small dams? If not then just imagine being driven out of your house because the government suddenly discovers that your house lies on the shortest possible train route from source A to destination B.
I spent so much of my time, which I could’ve spent with my family after 6 long months, just to mention (and remind myself) that development in India cannot happen on one single track. We cannot build a highway, if the farmers are committing suicide. We need to find alternatives for development which will target, not only the elite class, but also the handful few.
The HDI needs to rise on both fronts.