As we have seen, when we talk about economic development, the focus is on income only. For a long time, the general notion about development was the accumulation of wealth or economic assets. But human development focuses on expanding and widening of people’s choices as well as raising the levels of wellbeing. It covers almost all aspects of human life and people’s choices like economic, social, political, cultural, educational, physical, biological, mental and emotional. Income is only one of the many components of development. Human development places people at the centre of development and emphasizes that the purpose of development is to enlarge all human choices and not just income. It regards economic growth as essential but emphasizes the need to pay attention to its quality and distribution.

You may now understand that if the socio-economic development of a country is modelled along with human development framework, it can provide a better understanding of the development and its impact on the quality of life of the people. We may appreciate it in a better manner when we try to understand the Human Development Index (HDI) developed as a means of measuring human development. The basic use of HDI is to measure a country’s level of development. 

Human development Index: Indices and Dimensions


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Human Development Report in 1990, incorporating development-related data in respect to the above-mentioned indices. Since then this Report is published every year and the nations are ranked every year according to the level of improvements made in respect of each of the indices. The analysis of the Human Development Report published since 1990, indicates that India is always placed almost at the bottom of the table in the medium level category. Out of 177 countries included in the Report, India’s rank was 128 in the year 2007-08. The Government of India has also made an attempt to develop state wise Human Development Index. You may see figure 25.2 and observe the variation among the States.

Source NIOS