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In the chapter “Development” of Political Science Class 11, students will learn about models of development, human development, alternative conceptions of development, the Indian development model, dominant development model, development cost in terms of environment, challenges of development, etc.
What do you understand by the term ‘development’? Would all sections of society benefit from such a definition of development?
Development is a continuously changing and dynamic concept. Since the beginning of civilisation, it has been taking different shapes and dimensions. It is very difficult to give a definition of development which is universally accepted. Some have defined development in terms of increase in national economy, while some other include social progress and some in terms of involvement is political system. Thus, development is a complex phenomenon comprising many dimensions – social, political, economic and administrative. That is why we speak of ‘Political Development’, ‘Economic Development’ and ‘Social Development’, etc. According to Colm and Geiger, development means change plus growth. According to T.N. Chaturvedi, it is a process which stands for transformation of society. In brief, development is a process of improving the well-being of the people. It is about raising the standard of living of the people, improving their education, health, etc. It is not essential that all sections of society would get benefits of development. In the process of development, it is possible that some sections of the society may benefit while other may have to suffer loss of their lands or homes.
Discuss some of the social and ecological costs of the kind of development which has been pursued in most countries.
The concept of development has undergone
many changes over the years. In the beginning,
developing countries followed western concept of
development. In India, Five-Year Plans were started.
Concept of development adopted in underdeveloped
countries and developing countries has been criticised
because development models have proved very costly.
Most of the developing countries are under heavy
debts and the economic growth is also very slow.
Poverty, unemployment and diseases still exist in
This model of development has also had high social costs. Due to big projects a lot of people have been displaced from their houses and localities. Displacement created the problem of refugees and a lot of people lost their livelihood. Due to displacement, traditional skills may be lost. There is also a loss of culture. Such displacement has led to struggles in many countries. In India, the Narmada Bachao Andolan is going on against the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada. Problem of displacement of over one million people has arisen. Majority of these people belong to the tribal and Dalit communities. Moreover, the dam would upset the ecological balance, submerging large tracts of forest. Development has also affected the environment. Building of commercial enterprises along the shoreline is considered the main cause of tsunami. The ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is melting due to increased emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In short, in the long run ecological crisis will badly affect all of us.
What are some of the new claims for rights which the process of development has generated?
The benefits of development have been largely cornered by the powerful and rich people. But the poorest section of society has suffered the most due to displacement and loss of livelihood. This has raised one basic issue, i.e., regarding the protection of the affected people. Affected people have a right to be consulted in decisions which directly affect their lives. Do they have a right to livelihood when activities of the government threaten their livelihood? Another important issue is regarding the rights to natural resources. The basic question is to whom the natural resources belong. Is it the local community, the State concerned or the whole humanity ?
What would be the advantages of democracy over other forms of government for ensuring that decisions regarding development are made to promote the common good?
Modern age is an age of democracy. Democracy is considered to be the best form of government. The basic distinction between democracy and dictatorship is that democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, whereas in dictatorship, the powers of the government are concentrated in the hands of one person or one party. In dictatorship, people do not enjoy rights and no importance is given to discussion. In dictatorship, decisions are taken by the dictators and people are not consulted. It is only in a democratic system where people participate in the decision-making process directly or indirectly. In fact, democracy and development both are concerned with realising the common good. In democratic states, at local levels, local bodies take decisions. These days, emphasis is on increasing the power and financial resources of the local bodies. Moreover, people should be consulted on those issues which affect them. There should be decentralisation of powers. All decisions which affect the people should not be taken at the top level.
In your view, how successful have popular struggles been in making the State responsive to the social and environmental costs of development? Discuss with examples.
Popular struggles have played very important role in making the state responsive to the social and environment costs of development. In fact, developed models adopted in many countries have proved very costly for the developing states. For example, Africa is still suffering from heavy debts which it has borrowed from developed countries. Development model has also increased the social costs of development. Lakhs of people have been displaced from their homes due to construction of big dams, etc. Displacement means loss of livelihood and in many countries people have started struggle against big dams and projects.