Meaning of Development 

The term “development” refers to a country’s overall progress. Freedom, participation, economic equality, security, a dignified life, and a decent standard of living are only a few examples.

Different People and Different Goals

The different perspectives in development are often contradictory. The following two components of development are depicted in this diagram.

  1. Individuals may have distinct developmental objectives.
  2.  One person’s development may not be the same as another’s. It could even be harmful to others.

For example, industrialists desire additional dams to meet their electrical needs, yet dams displace local communities, submerge forestland, and perhaps damage the entire biological system.

Income and Other Goals

  1. Income seems to be the most crucial component of progress since it allows people to purchase products and services. People also want equal treatment, freedom, education, security, work respect, peace, and a clean environment, among other factors.
  2. As a result, people consider a variety of goals when considering development, and developmental goals include both economic progress and improved quality of life.

National Development

  1. Individuals have diverse aims in mind, and their motivations for national growth are likely to differ as well. For example, a farmer wishes India to grow in one manner, a trader wants it to develop in another, and a teacher wants it to develop in a kind of.
  2. Giving priority to national development goals that benefit a great amount of people.

Comparison of  Countries or States

Countries are categorised as developed, underdeveloped, or developing based on their level of development.

Comparison Through National Income

National income, often known as total revenue, is the sum of all of the country’s people’ earnings during a duration of time. Developed countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan, have higher overall incomes.

  1. However, because countries have diverse populations, comparing total earnings can not reveal the average amount made by an individual.

Comparison Through Per Capita Income

Per income per capita allows for a more accurate comparison. It is computed by multiplying a country’s total income (GDP) by its total population. It’s also known as median income.

World Bank Report on Per Capita Income

Every year, the World Bank produces the World Development Report (WDR), which compares countries based on per capita growth.

The bank has classified the countries as follows

  1. Rich countries are defined as those with a PCI of US $ 12,056 per year or above in 2017.
  2. Low-income countries are defined as those with a PCI of US $ 955 or less.
  3. India’s per average spending in 2017 was around US $ 1820, making it a lower – middle income country.

Income and Other Criteria

Apart from wealth, other factors should be considered when assessing a country’s or region’s development level. To grasp this, consider a comparison of three states: Haryana, Kerala, and Bihar from distinct perspectives.

Some Comparative Data on Haryana, Kerala and Bihar

StateInfant Mortality Rate per 1,000 (2016)Literacy Rate (%) (2001)Net Attendance Ratio for Class I-V (2013-2014))Per capita income for 2015-16



Various characteristics of development can be derived from the comparison table as follows:

  1. Haryana has the highest per capita while Bihar has the lowest. This suggests that employment opportunities and earnings potential are limited in Bihar.
  2. Kerala has the lowest IMR, whereas Bihar has the highest. A high IMR indicates that healthcare facilities are inadequate, and a high per capita income does not imply better healthcare.
  3. Kerala has the greatest literacy rate, while Bihar has the lowest.
  4. Kerala has the greatest net attendance rate, while Bihar has the lowest.

These factors suggest that per capita income is not the ideal criterion for determining development, but that other basic amenities and quality of life are as important and must be adequately accounted for. 

Public Facilities

More money or a higher average income may not guarantee you a better life. It cannot purchase a pollution-free environment, pure medicines, or disease protection.

As a result, public facilities such as primary and secondary schools, healthcare, and hygiene are essential for living.

Public Distribution System

Some states, such as Tamil Nadu, want a Public Distribution System (PDS) for distributing food to poor rural people, even though Jharkhand will not.

In Tamil Nadu, 75% of people living in rural regions use a ration shop, whereas only 8% of rural residents in Jharkhand are allowed to use it.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

  1. Another crucial part of development is nutrition. A benchmark known as the Body Mass Index (BMI) is used around the world to evaluate whether or not an adult is malnourished.
  2. BMI is a ratio that is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by the square of his or her height.
  3. BMI = Weight in kg/(height in metres) 2 .
  4. A person is undernourished if their BMI is less than 18.5, and overweight if it is greater than 25. For example, if a 1.65 m tall adult’s weight is less than 50.5 kg, the person is deemed undernourished.
  5. When a person’s weight exceeds 68 kg, though, they are labelled overweight. This criterion does not apply to youngsters who are still growing.

Human Development Report

Best Method to Measure Development

One of the greatest methods for measuring development is the UNDP’s Human Development Report.

The report makes comparisons across countries based on three criteria:

  1.  Living standard (Per Capita Income) 
  2. Health status (Life expectancy) 
  3. Educational levels of the people (Literacy rate and Enrollment ratio)  

In HDR 2018, India is ranked 130th. To quantify human progress, the Human Development Index (HDI) takes into account public health, education, poverty level, inequality, and environmental factors.

Sustainability of Development

Economic development has been achieved at the expense of natural resources and the environment in both developed and developing countries.

Excessive mining of iron, gold, silver, or coal, as well as crude oil extraction, for example, depletes the stock of these resources. Environmental pollution is caused by smoke and other toxic substances generated by factories.

Problems with water and air pollution are harming people’s lives and will continue to do so in the future.

Environmental Degradation and Sustainable Development

Our mishandling of natural resources will lead to environmental degradation that will extend beyond national and state borders. The emphasis now is on environmental sustainability, which allows us to use resources wisely.

Sustainability is a new concept that refers to the wise use of natural resources by keeping consumption to a bare minimum so that new generations can benefit.

The following are some examples of environmental degradation

  • Groundwater in India – Overuse and expanding urban settlements are contributing to the depletion of groundwater supplies in Punjab, West U.P., and Central and South India’s hard rock plateau. India’s groundwater resources have decreased by 40%.
  • Exhaustion Of Natural Resources – According to the June 2018 issue of World Energy Review, the world’s total crude oil reserves will last only 50 years since countries are rapidly depleting their oil supplies and alternative energy sources are still not adequately developed.


NCERT Economics Chapter 1 – Development Solved Question & Answers

Q1. Development of a country can generally be determined by 

(i) it’s per capita income

(ii) its average literacy level 

(iii) health status of its people

(iv) all of these 

Answer: (i) its per capita income.

Q2. Which of the following neighbouring countries has better performance in terms of human development than India? 

(i) Bangladesh

(ii) Sri Lanka

(iii) Nepal

(iv) Pakistan 

Answer: (ii) Sri Lanka

Q3. Assume there are four families in a country. The average per capita income of these families is ₹ 5000. If the income of three families is ₹ 4000, ₹ 7000 and ₹ 3000 respectively, what is the income of the fourth family? 

(i) ₹ 7500

(ii) ₹ 3000 

(iii) ₹ 2000 

(iv) ₹ 6000 

Answer: (iv) ₹ 6000 

Q4. What is the main criterion used by the World Bank in classifying different countries? What are the limitations of this criterion, if any? 

Answer: As a measure of development, the World Bank only looks at the income per person. The report says that countries with a per capita income of 4,53,000 or more in 2004 are wealthy, while countries with a per capita income of 37,000 or less are low-income.

There are many problems with the World Bank criteria:

It doesn’t tell us how this average income is split up between people in different countries.

  1. Two countries with the same average income per person can have very different ways of distributing their income. One may have a fair distribution of income, while the other may have a different culture between the rich and the poor.

Q5. In what respects is the criterion used by the UNDP for measuring development different from the one used by the World Bank? 

Answer: The UNDP’s criteria for development are different from those of the World Bank in that they look at things like health, education, and income as signs of development. It is not just based on how much each person makes, like the World Bank is.

Q6 Why do we use averages? Are there any limitations to their use? illustrate with your own examples related to development. 

Answer: Because people are different in each country, comparing total income doesn’t tell us how much the average person should make. So, we look at the average income, which is a country’s total income divided by the number of people living there. We use averages to compare the amounts of things in the same category. For example, averages are used to figure out a country’s per capita income because people’s earnings vary.

Use of averages is limited in some ways:

  • “Averages” are good for comparing things, but they hide differences. For example, two countries A and B might have the same monthly income. But most people in country A make more money than most people in country B. In country B, a few people are very rich and make a lot of money, but most people are very poor and make very little money. So, everyone wants to live in country “A,” where money is more evenly distributed, while in country “B,” there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Averages are useful for making comparisons, but they can also hide differences. For example, a country’s infant mortality rate doesn’t care whether the babies are male or female. This average doesn’t tell us anything about whether most children who die before they turn one are boys or girls.

Q7. Kerala, with lower per capita income has a better human development ranking than Punjab. Hence, per capita income is not a useful criterion at all and should not be used to compare states. Do you agree? Discuss. 

Answer: Even though Kerala has a lower per capita income than Punjab, it ranks higher in terms of human development. But it would be wrong to say that per capita income is not a good measure. It does have some problems. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless. The Human Development Index (HDI) is used to make up for the fact that this average isn’t enough. The HD compares a number of indicators of development, such as income, health, and education. So, per capita income is a part of progress that can’t be taken away. Also, per capita income is important when comparing the money indices of different states.

Q8. Find out the present sources of energy that are used by the people in India. What 

could there be other possibilities fifty years from now? 

Answer: India gets its energy from coal, crude oil, cow dung, the sun, and electricity. Other possibilities for fifty years from now include ethanol, biodiesel, nuclear energy, and more wind energy use..

Q9. Why is the issue of sustainability important for development? 

Answer: Each generation wants to get the most out of the resources they have, but this would be bad because the resources would be used up in a short amount of time, leaving less for future generations. Sustainability is very important for development because:

  • Development must be future-oriented.
  • If natural resources aren’t taken care of, progress will stop.
  • Using a country’s resources in an unethical way will hurt its growth in the long run. This is because those resources will be used up in the future.

Q10.”The Earth has enough resources to meet the needs of all but not enough to satisfy the greed of even one person.” How is this statement relevant to the discussion of development? Discuss. 

Answer: This shows that there are enough resources to meet everyone’s needs, as long as they are used wisely and not wasted by a few, leaving others in need without what they need. Ground water is an example of a natural resource that can be used over and over again. Non-renewable resources are those that can’t be replaced or that will run out after a certain amount of time. For instance, crude oil. Sustainable development can be done by using both renewable and nonrenewable resources while keeping the delicate balance of the environment and taking into account the needs of both current and future generations.

Q11. List a few examples of environmental degradation that you may have observed around you.

Answer: The environment gets worse when people use and waste too many resources. Deforestation, falling groundwater levels, soil erosion, water pollution, burning fossil fuels, the hole in the ozone layer, and pollution from cars, especially in cities, are all examples of environmental degradation.

Q12. For each of the items given in Table 1.6, find out which country is at the top and which is at the bottom.

Table: Some data regarding India and its neighbours for 2012.


(i) Per Capita Gross National Income in US$: Top country-Sri Lanka; Bottom country-Nepal. 

(ii) Life Expectancy at Birth: Top country-Sri Lanka; Bottom country- Myanmar and Pakistan. 

(iii) Literacy Rate for 15+ years Population: Top country-Sri Lanka; Bottom country-Pakistan. 

(iv) HDI Rank in the world: Top country-Sri Lanka; Bottom country-Nepal.

Q13. The following table shows the proportion of undernourished adults in India. It is based on a survey of various states for the year 2001. Look at the table and answer the  following questions.

(i) Compare the nutritional level of people in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. 

(ii) Can you guess why around 40 percent of people in the country are undernourished 

even though it is argued that there is enough food in the country? Describe in your own words. 


  • People in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have different nutritional needs. 22% of men and 19% of women in Kerala are undernourished, but 43% of men and 42% of women in Madhya Pradesh are undernourished, respectively. 
  • This means that people in Kerala are better fed than people in Madhya Pradesh. Also, the average level of malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh is higher than the national average, while Kerala’s is lower.
  • Even though there is enough food in the country, more than 40% of Indians are malnourished. 
  • This is because food is given out in an unpredictable and unsystematic way. 
  • Certain states in the country make sure that ration shops and other kinds of Public Distribution System work well (PDS).
  •  The Public Distribution System is the way that important goods are given to the public by government organisations. 
  • It helps the most vulnerable people in society. 
  • The PDS’s ration stores help the public keep a healthy diet by making food easy to get. 
  • But because of too many exports and a lack of consistency in how food is given to the people, over 40% of the Indian population is malnourished.



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