Politics of Human Development

Apurba K Bararuah
Political Science, NEHU, Shillong, India

In the contemporary world human development index is used to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life. This index, as is well-known, veers round the measures of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living. The 2006 Report showed stagnation in world Human Development Index. This stagnation was noticed despite the continued improvement of developed countries in the areas of concern for such index. The reason was not very difficult to understand. The high rate of growth of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living of the industrially developed countries was offset by a general decline of these indices in the developing countries. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia showed an important decline in life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living, even in comparison with the previous year's report. There was no improvement noticed in these indices in the developing countries of other regions too.
As a result not only the gap between the rich nations and the poor and the gap between the rich and the poor in the developing countries have increased, but also a process of pauperization seems to have set in. We need to notice that the fact of poverty is often recognised in the literature of development in mainstream Economics or rather in the dominant contemporary discourse on development.   Though in many cases the term poverty is used more in a comparative manner by referring to conditions of the poorest in a society than to indicate the conditions of the poor yet, there is no attempt at either denying its existence or ignoring it. According to World Bank by the year 2000 1.3 billion people were living below the poverty line.   Where do the Majority of these poor live? 633 million live in Asia, 240 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 6 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. Joe Mulien had pointed out...