While economic liberalization can do a lot of good to a nation, it must be supplemented by a range of devices by which the state can promote human development.
Nations have to move well beyond economic liberalization and must adapt and extend the language of economics in order to think more adequately about human development. Without adequate social development like literacy, health, women’s education and social security there can be no meaning in economic expansion if economic growth has to serve society. Globalization and liberalization are good ideas but need to be supplemented with public action to enhance human capabilities. This means investing in education, health and gender empowerment. India launched a drive for economic liberalization in 1991 after years of disastrous socialist and centralized planning, but the question arises whether the country has taken care of its needs in human development and poverty alleviation.
This paper discusses these questions, and analyzes how economic liberalization alone is not sufficient for a nation's welfare. The necessities of planning and implementing programs from a human development perspective are outlined.
India is doing very well economically and is capable of becoming a developed country in the foreseeable future, perhaps even within two decades. However, there is no question of its joining the "league of developed nations" unless there is decisive action to transform social conditions and expand social opportunities. This will mean a dramatic enhancement of the focus on basic education, health, women's empowerment and related areas, and enabling the vast majority of the population to improve its quality of life.
[Editorials, The Hindu, Jan 05, 2004]
This, in fact, was the theme that the economist and Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen, has been writing in his book "India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity" published nearly a decade ago. Professor Sen and his co-aut...