:Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Saturday stressed the need to ensure that the concept of development, which is now associated with factors like GDP and human development, be "people-centric and nature-centric."
"The concept of development is associated with many words like GDP, consumption, human development, income levels, poverty reduction, social development, free markets and westernisation.
Development is the new identity of any nation in the 21st century. While it is for experts and developmental economists to decide and define what constitutes real development, on my part, I feel that any development should be people-centric and nature-centric," the Vice President said.
He was speaking at an 'International Conference on Development Discourse' organised by the Research for Resurgence Foundation (RFRF) and others.
While development broadly encompasses improving incomes and living conditions, the focus should be on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals the world has set for itself in 2015, he said.
For a developing nation like India, the need of hour was to sustain the momentum of economic growth and dovetail its efforts for increasing prosperity and the well being of the people, he said.
Making agriculture viable, improving farm income,bridging the urban rural divide, poverty eradication, tackling climate change, harnessing technology, empowering women and creating jobs are all crucial to sustain the growth momentum, he said.
"There are arguments which say that GDP can only be a rough indicator of economic growth but not a real measure of the overall development as it does not include factors like standard of living and environmental quality," he said.
Observing that every development project must be considered in a holistic manner, Naidu pointed out that the latest global formulation of Sustainable Development Goals lays emphasis on five Ps: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership.
He said Indias ancient hymns and Vedas advocated restrained, sustainable use of natural resources and quoted Mahatma Gandhis quotes that "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every mans greed."
Emphasising that development should be people centric, he said introduction of automation should not displace people from jobs though automation also cannot be opposed in the age of modernisation. How to take advantage of technological advancement should be thought of, he said.
Any innovation, out of the box thinking should give happiness and not only prosperity, he said.
"It is high time to think what development actually means to humanity at large. The bottom line seems to be improvement in the quality of life,how healthy and happy and how fulfilling and emotionally satisfying are our lives," Naidu said.
Naidu said the country can achieve rapid progress and bring about a transformation in the lives of both urban and rural people only when collective efforts are made to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, caste and gender discrimination and the twin menaces of black money and terrorism.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three word mantra for 'Reform, Perform and Transform' has to be implemented in letter and spirit by all the stakeholders government, local bodies, educational and medical institutions, NGOs and the private sector to bring about a complete transformation in the lives of the rural people and rural economy," he said.
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