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

For comparing countries, their income is considered to be one of the most important attributes. Countries with higher income are more developed than others with less income. This is based on the understanding that more income means more of all things that human beings need. Whatever people like, and should have, they will be able to get with greater income. So, greater income itself is considered to be one important goal. Intuitively, the income of the country is the income of all the residents of the country. This gives us the total income of the country. However, for comparison between countries, total income is not such an useful measure. Since, countries have different populations, comparing total income will not tell us what an average person is likely to earn. Hence, we compare the average income which is the total income of the country divided by its total population. The average income is also called per capita income.

In World Development Report 2006, brought out by the World Bank, this criterion is used in classifying countries. Countries with per capita income of Rs 4,53,000 per annum and above in 2004, are called rich countries and those with per capita income of Rs 37,000 or less are called low-income countries. India comes in the category of low-income countries because its per capita income in 2004 was just Rs 28,000 per annum. The rich countries, excluding countries of Middle East and certain other small countries, are generally called developed countries.


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

UNDP compares countries based on the educational levels of the people, their health status and per capita income.


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

For example, let us consider two countries, A and B. For the sake of simplicity, we have assumed that they have only five citizens each. Based on data given in Table, calculate the average income for both the countries. Perhaps some of us may like to live in country B if we are assured of being its fifth citizen but if it is a lottery that decides our citizenship number then perhaps most of us will prefer to live in country A. Even though both the countries have identical average income, country A is preferred because it has more equitable distribution. In this country people are neither very rich nor extremely poor. On the other hand most citizens in country B are poor and one person is extremely rich. Hence, while average income is useful for comparison it does not tell us how this income is distributed among people.


Why is the issue of sustainability important for development?

The question of sustainability of development raises many fundamentally new issues about the nature and process of development. Sustainability of development is comparatively a new area of knowledge in which scientists, economists, philosophers and other social scientists are working together. In general, the question of development or progress is perennial. At all times as a member of society and as individuals we need to ask where we want to go, what we wish to become and what our goals are. So the debate on development continues.


(e) Young woman in a rich rural family

(a) Availability of water for irrigation at proper time and at affordable cost

(b) Greater employment opportunities

(c) Luxuries like an AC car, foreign travel, branded consumer products

(d) Secure rights over cultivated land.

(e) Greater involvement in the family decision making process.


Why is it that different people have different notions of development?

Notions of development are largely determined by the peculiar circumstances of individuals. People aspire for development that would lead to a more secure and comfortable life for them irrespective of how others are affected by the progress.


How is average income calculated?

Average income is calculated by dividing the sum of individual incomes by the total population of the country.


What should be the developmental goals for developing countries like India?

Development for countries like India must in the first assistance assure a better life for the agriculturists, specially the marginal farmers and land less labourers. Labour intensive industrialization should be encouraged. Production centers need to be set up in the vicinity of village farms in which people of all levels of skill can find employment. The State should provide better roads and communication facilities along with regular power supply to such units. Economic growth must be accompanied by employment generation.


The high salary jobs are not always the most satisfying option.

Jobs that involve high risks, night shifts, frequent movement from one place to another and similar inconveniences are often paid higher than other jobs. However, since such situations leave little time for family life and involve health risks, they are not considered as the best options.


Compare the nutritional level of people in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Can you guess why around 40 per cent 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.

There is enough food in the country and yet around 40% of the population is under nourished. This happens because people do not have the purchasing power even though food grains are available in plenty. Kerala has minimum % of under nourished population. Madhya Pradesh has maximum at 43% for males and 42% doe females as under nourished population.

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