As we all observe and feel, we are using natural resources almost carelessly to meet our needs. It is said that a number of minerals like, coal, petrol and many more will last only for a few decades if we go on using them at the present rate. Future generations will not have the facility of using these resources. Is it fair for our generation to deprive the future generations of these resources? The concept of sustainable development has emerged in this context. It is a broad concept that is defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
Although many think that it is relevant only in the environmental context, it actually does not focus solely on environmental issues. As shown in the figure below, it includes economic development, social development, individual development and environmental development. It is a pattern of social and economic transformation, i.e. development that optimizes the economic and societal benefits available in the present, without adversely affecting the likely potential for similar benefits in the future. A primary goal of sustainable development is to achieve a reasonable and equitably distributed level of economic and social wellbeing that can be perpetuated continually for many human generations. It takes care of the needs and requirements of all sections of the society including the disadvantaged groups.