2023 GS1 Answer

Q. Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS1 Paper

Model Answer: 

India’s Economic Development and Human Development Discrepancy

India has seen significant economic development over the past few years, with a rapidly growing GDP and an expanding middle class. However, human development, which includes factors such as education, health, and quality of life, has not kept pace with this economic growth. This discrepancy can be attributed to several reasons, including the following:

1. Inequality in Income Distribution:

Despite the economic growth, the income distribution in India is highly skewed. The richest 10% of Indians own nearly three-quarters of the country’s wealth. This income inequality leads to unequal access to resources, which hinders human development.

2. Lack of Access to Quality Education:

India’s education system is plagued by issues like inadequate infrastructure, lack of trained teachers, and high dropout rates. The quality of education is often poor, particularly in rural areas. This hampers human development as education is a key factor in improving quality of life and economic opportunities.

3. Health Care Deficiencies:

India’s health care system is underfunded and inefficient, with a significant proportion of the population lacking access to basic health care services. Poor health outcomes, particularly among the poor and marginalized communities, impede human development.

4. Gender Inequality:

Gender inequality is a pervasive issue in India, with women often having less access to education, health care, and economic opportunities compared to men. This not only hinders women’s development but also slows down overall human development.

5. Inadequate Infrastructure:

Poor infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, affects various aspects of human development. Lack of access to clean water, sanitation, reliable electricity, and good roads hampers health, education, and economic opportunities.

6. Social Discrimination:

Caste-based discrimination and religious intolerance continue to be significant issues in India. These social prejudices hinder human development by limiting opportunities and access to resources for certain groups.

7. Policy Implementation:

While the Indian government has numerous policies aimed at promoting human development, implementation is often weak. Corruption, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and lack of accountability often result in these policies not having their intended impact.


While India has made significant strides in economic development, human development has not kept pace due to a variety of factors, including income inequality, lack of access to quality education and health care, gender inequality, inadequate infrastructure, social discrimination, and weak policy implementation. To ensure balanced development, it is vital for the Indian government to address these issues and prioritize human development alongside economic growth.

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