The concept of development has been defined by many in different ways. However, it can be generally stated that
In the 1990s the human development paradigm was introduced. It argued that development is not merely economic growth, it is also about the people and their capabilities. It is linked to a healthy life, education and decent standards of living. This emphasized the need to shift the focus from national income as the only indicator of development to expanding the choices people have. Thus, it became a people centric development process.
In 1990, the United Nations Development Programme introduced the first global Human Development Report (HDR) and with it the Human Development Index (HDI) that measures a country’s progress beyond gross national income to include social indicators such as health and education.
India welcomed the concept of human development. This was reflected in the Eighth National Five-Year Plan formulated in 1992 which stated that "human development was the ultimate goal of all planning".
Development at a village level can be reflected by the facilities that a village has to enrich a human life and sustain the environment around it. Water, sanitation, housing, no poverty, energy, health, environment, education, employment etc. reflect how developed a village is. While we think about village development, do think about justice for all, conserving our eco systems and gender equality.
The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India laid the way for a paradigm shift in the governance system of the country. From two levels of the National and State governments, a new level was introduced which could be broadly called local government.
The major guiding principles followed in this shift were
The major objectives of these Constitutional amendments include Ensuring social justice and local economic development. And these definitely cover all aspects of human development.
As per the Eleventh Schedule of Article 243 G of 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution, following subjects fall within the responsibilities of local governments
Almost all the determinants of human development are covered under these subjects.
Human Development Index considers Health (Life expectancy at birth), Education (Mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age) and Standard of living (Gross national income per capita) to measure human development. This is only for global comparisons. More dimensions can be considered. There are other similar indices also – on inequality, gender disparity and human poverty.
Indices alone are not enough. We need to have actions which would lead to a few goals that together contribute to human development. Thus, came the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be achieved by 2015 to which all member states of the United Nations committed themselves. The eight goals and their targets were aimed at eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, empowering women, reducing child mortality, ensuring environmental sustain-ability and forging new partnerships for development.
Having completed the deadline for MDGs, the world has moved to the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal set of goals
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that 193 countries in the world have jointly set under the leadership of the United Nations. The countries are expected to frame their agendas and policies over the next 15 years to end poverty, protect the planet, enjoy peace, and ensure prosperity for all.
193 countries, including India in September 2015 adopted a global development vision called Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda is “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”. 2030 Agenda contains 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to stimulate global action over the next 15 years on issues critical to humanity and the planet. It has become applicable from January 2016. The deadline for the SDGs is 2030.
The concept of SDGs was born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in 2012. The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and seek to build on the progress of MDGs and complete what they did not achieve.
The cornerstones of this Agenda are People, Prosperity, Peace, Partnerships and the Planet. This is known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
India is one of the signatories to the resolution on SDGs. It has moved ahead on the nationalising of the implementation of the SDGs and initiated preparation of the Vision Document 2030 with NITI Aayog in the lead. Based on the guidance from NITI Aayog, State governments have begun the process of SDGs implementation. In addition to the State level, there is a critical need to take SDGs to the local level. Here lies the importance of local governments, especially the Gram Panchayats.
The Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) initiated after the historical recommendation of the Fourteenth Finance Commission paves the way for the Panchayats to link planning with the SDGs.
For localisation of SDGs, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has prepared a ‘Draft Vision Document for Achieving SDGs’. It has mapped roles of Panchayats in terms of SDGs and centrally sponsored schemes (CSS).
The challenge related to Panchayats is to capacitate them for planning, fund absorption and improving service delivery towards achieving sustainable development goals. It is important that the SDG goals and targets are deconstructed with the perspective of local governments and presented to them in a way in which they can be used in local planning and implementation.
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