During the last century it was believed that development is largely synonymous with economic growth and the modernization of the traditional society. However in the previous few decades an increased focus has come on inducing human dignity, equality and freedom in the context of development of the society.
Due to increased disillusionment with the previous indicators of development by the 1960’s a basic needs approach was adopted in which a vast array of problems faced by the people such as housing, health and education were addressed and targeted needy sections of the society.
Since then the basic needs approach did much to alleviate poverty and reduce other problems faced by the people even though this trend declined during the 1980’s due to various problems including lack of finance available with the governments.
In 1986 the UN labeled development as an inalienable human right and by the 1990’s even more new ideas emerged changing the idea and meaning of development completely and putting more focus on non-income indicators of human well-being. New ideas of human development index, gender related human development index, gender empowerment measure and human poverty index were introduced which focused more on gender equality, standards of living, equitable distribution of income, ending deprivation and quality of healthcare and education available to the masses.
Poverty in the world of today is considered a human rights violation and its eradication is aggressively pursued through millennium development goals and other measures. The meaning of development has clearly changed in the previous few decades and its high time the global policy makers come to consider that.