The word ‘development’ was used for many years to explain or refer to economic development. After M. K Gandhi defined a simple development formula viz. Economic Development - Social Development = No Development (ED-SD=ND) Economic Development + Social Development = Development (ED+SD=D).
Now, the concept of social development is different from economic development arouse out of many discussions on community development at regional, national and international levels. The schools of social work have also defined social development as trained social work professionals got hands on experiences from time to time in working with different developmental projects starting from community development programme of 1952. Social work itself was traditionally relief and rehabilitation oriented and focussed on the especially vulnerable sections of the society.
Today social work professionals are having better clarity on the concept of social development. The concept of social development is also understood as social security measures in terms of society’s health except national security. The concept of Social development is inclusive of economic development. Social development is an integrated view of the scope of development which should embrace development in all its varied facets. Social development means something more than merely socio-economic, political and environmental development.
National development plans provide for economic, physical, infrastructural, educational, health and welfare targets of growth or expansion. Social development planning requires the perception and delineation of the nature of inter-relationships between the different institutions and sectors. Thus, social development is an integrative concept and this integration depends upon a clear emancipation of the values and the type of society toward which planning is to be undertaken.
The social change required for achieving social development implies, and is sustained by a change in the dominant social values. These should be based on rational, secular and egalitarian system of values instead of casteism, racial, religious narrow-mindedness. The acceptance of these values has implications for all policies and programmes of growth and development.
The goal of Social Development should be to create a new society where living conditions of people are improved, removal of tribal-rural-urban and regional imbalance and meeting the basic needs of the people at all levels – especially poorest and deprived segment of the society. To achieve the above, economic development is essential, rural development is an integral part of social development. Budgetary provisions should be made equally for both rural urban, offcourse not to desert the tribes and their development.
Social development should include programmes for universal literacy or primary education, comprehensive health measures – facilities for housing; also include population policy and family planning. Social development implies a substantial investment in social services and preservation of ecological balance too. People’s participation is the key and need of the day – this requires real decentralization of power, especially financial and administrative power at lower tier of panchaythi raj.
Participation in the context of development has two distinct interpretations. They are; a) participation as an input to development; and b). as a means of empowering the rural poor to play an effective role in rural development. Thus, participation is recognised as an intrinsic part of the process of development rather than merely facilitator. Dr. D. Srinivasa Reddy’s article discusses the importance & process of people’s participation, different stages in the process of people’s participation, and various factors affecting people’s participation in the context of development process.
Dr. Gangadhar Sonar discusses in his paper on women, their challenges and the role of social workers in the light of present development paradigm. Systematically, status of women has been undermined in our society. Now, everyone talks, writes on the issue of women empowerment. The concern shown and relevance discussed in the article is of great importance today and near future too.
Dr. R. Bhaskar discusses the issue of Juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is a global issue which is a serious issue of concern. There is no exception in case of juvenile delinquents presence either in developed nations, developing or under developed nations. This is a major issue of social concern which affects the very basis of our society. Social Problems that exist in our society like wrecked families, illiteracy, unemployment, alcoholism leads to emergence of Juvenile delinquency. These children are future citizens of the country thus it becomes very important to reform them so that they become valuable citizens. These children are either homeless, runaway and have no one to take care of. Thus it is very important to intervene with them so as to bring them up as good citizens.
A study done on Decentralisation of Power- Panchayathi Raj Sytem by Denmark resident Ms. Rekha Das (native of Karnataka) has been included here which is of great relevance. Other relevant articles are included here which would be of interest to understand the theme of social development and its different dimensions.
I am sure that this issue would be an important source of information for all those interested in social development especially social work professionals and students.
Dr. R. Shivappa
Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Studies in Social Work, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Mysore-570 006