THE perspective as well as context of socio-economic and human development of society have undergone changes throughout the different epochs of human history. After the revolution in information and communications technology, organisation, management and distribution of industrial production have gone through another qualitative jump. Now the term development implies two conditions for an economy. Firstly, whether it is able to produce better quality of goods and services in ever greater quantities. Secondly, whether the goods and services so produced are able to reach the market and finally to consumers as fast as possible. The better an economy fulfils these two conditions for its development simultaneously, the faster it is able to claim its rightful place among other economies in the global marketplace. The higher ideals of development like democracy, human development, good governance including the cause of poverty alleviation etc., will remain a mere chimera until and unless the political leadership of the country is able to create the necessary economic infrastructure for the same.
During the last three decades, the role of the private sector has assumed a greater significance in the development of an economy. Undoubtedly, the private sector is the main engine of growth in the present era of globalised market economy. But how can the private sector play its due role in the economy, if its basic infrastructures are still remaining in the horse and buggy days? The government of the day often comes out with data to show that the economy is growing fast and that it is providing the private sector with all the support it requires. But a look at the reality on the ground will reveal how hollow its claims are. The centre of the country's administration, the capital city, is itself a living proof of the lack of any substance in its claims. One wonders if the roads of the capital city are really meant for expediting the smooth movement of people and goods. The hellish traffic snarls at every intersection of the city roads do not certainly help the cause of faster growth of the economy! That means the number and quality of the roads are neither sufficient nor developed to meet the needs of a growing metropolis like the capital city. The condition of other city amenities like water supply, sewerage facilities, telephone system, power supply etc., is least said the better.
One is talking here about the minimum requirements of a modern city life. If such is the state of things at the very nerve centre of a country's administration, one need not go into further details about the realities in its far-flung districts. The basic infrastructures of development are in shambles everywhere. Under the circumstances, where do the various positive indicators of growth and development come from as the government makes those public from time to time?
Development is not an issue of political propaganda. No amount of paperwork on figures used to construct various indicators of growth will be of help until the government focuses its attention in earnest to the basic condition of growth and development. The country needs wider, stronger and smoother roads and railways connecting all the centres of administrative and economic activities. The same is true of waterways and the airways. The amount of electricity produced by the ageing power stations of the country is not enough to meet the growing needs of the economy. They need to be overhauled and new production units have to be added immediately. The telecommunications sector, too, demands an equal attention from the government. Therefore, all the claims to growth and development made by the government will have a hollow ring to them so long as the vital infrastructure of the economy remains in their primitive conditions.