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RightRight toto developmentdevelopment


The right to development was first recognized in 1981 in Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as a definitive individual and collective right. Article 22(1) provides that: "All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind."

The right to development was subsequently proclaimed by the United Nations in 1986 in the "Declaration on the Right to Development," which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 41/128. The Right to development is a group right of peoples as opposed to an individual right, and was reaffirmed by the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

The concept of the Right to Development is controversial, with some commentators disputing whether it is a right at all. The meaning of the right to development has been elaborated in a number of sources.

The right to development is now included in the mandate of several UN institutions and offices. The Preamble of the Declaration on the Right to Development states "development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom."

UN Declaration on the Right to Development

In 1986, the UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Right to Development, which states that "every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised.” The heart of the problem is that people displaced by development projects are generally seen as a necessary sacrifice on the road to development. The dominant perspective is thus that the positive aspects of development projects, the public interest, outweigh the negative ones, the displacement or sacrifice of a few.

However, a change in paradigm has emerged in recent years with more emphasis on human rights and social justice. These rights include:

Right to Participation. The affected communities must be able to participate in different levels of decision-making, at the local (project), state (programme), national and international levels. The right to participation is well grounded in the International Bill of Human Rights (e.g. ICCPR, art. 25). More specifically, the 1991 International Labour Organisation Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention 169) stipulates that indigenous and tribal peoples shall participate in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of national and regional development plans that affect them (Article 7).

Right to Life and Livelihood. When security forces take action to move people forcibly or to quell civil dissent against development projects, this may constitute a direct threat to the right to life, which is protected in the UDHR (Article 3) and the ICCPR (Article 6). The right to livelihood is threatened by the loss of home and the means to make a living – whether farming, fishing, hunting, trading or the like – when people are displaced from habitual residences and traditional homelands. The right to own property and not to be arbitrarily deprived of this property as well as the right to work are spelled out in the UDHR (Articles 17 and 23, respectively) as well as in Article 6 of the ICESCR. Article 11 of the ICESCR, moreover, provides for "the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions."

Included in the right to life is the right to environment. This concept has also been phrased as “intergenerational equity” or the right of future generations to inherit a planet, or a particular piece of it, that is capable of sustaining life. The many linkages between protection of human rights and protection of the environment have long been recognised. The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment declared that "man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights--even the right to life itself."

Rights of Vulnerable Groups. While development projects may create vulnerability through impoverishment, they disproportionately affect groups that are vulnerable to begin with, particularly indigenous peoples and women. Human rights of vulnerable groups are protected generically in the International Bill of Human Rights. The ILO Convention 169 spells out protections for indigenous groups. The principle of non-discrimination is not only codified in the UDHR (Article 2), the ICCPR (Article 2) and the ICESCR (Article 2) but also in the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Right to Remedy. The right to remedy is asserted in the UDHR (Article 8) and in the ICCPR (Article 2). As noted in a report to the World Commission on Dams, “often, due to the nature of the development process, the project-affected peoples come to know about actions that have been taken without their knowledge or consent. Therefore, they need a quick and efficacious remedy that can halt on-going violations and prevent future ones. The right to remedy is therefore crucial…to all development projects.”

The Essential Elements of the Right to Development Approach

The inclusion of certain distinct elements differentiates the right to development thesis fromother mainstream theories on development (e.g. economic growth, basic needs, human development,centralised planning, free market neo-liberal, participatory and community-driven models). These include:

•The right to development is n a right to a process, not just outcomes ,based on the five principles of rights-based approach— equity, non-discrimination, transparency,accountability and democratic participation.

•The right to development requires the realisation of all rights in an integrated manner, rather than viewing them as discrete components. Trade-offs among rights or between rights and economic growth that lead to the diminution of the enjoyment of any right are inconsistent with the right to development

•There exists a strong connection between the realisation of all the rights taken together in the right to development and the need for economic growth in relaxing the constraints of resources, technology and institutions

The identification of development with the fulfillment of rights and freedoms “both at a particular time and over a period of time” or the “phased realisation of rights” distinguishes theright to development from other existing approaches to development. Encompassing a broadercanvas of development that includes freedom from poverty, social deprivation and tyranny, theright to development draws attention to the crucial aspects of the ends and means of development. Whereas ends focus on goals or final outcomes, the process reflects the means by which such goals are actually achieved. For policy makers, goals and objectives invariably for man important basis for selection and design of policies. Expressed either in quantitative or qualitative terms or a mix of both, goals lay the basis for programmes or policies, reflecting upon what ought to be. In this respect, they stand to be distinct from outcomes. The process refers to the crucial aspects of social, economic and political life that determines the possibilities of change and transformation. The right to development makes it mandatory for both outcomes and the process through which such outcomes are achieved to be consistent with human rights standards. In such a framework both ends and means are accorded equal importance.

Unlike the preoccupation of most theories of development with achievements of certaintargeted goals without any considerations for the means or the process through which these ends are achieved, the association of development with the process and not just the outcomes gives the right to development a distinct identity. A process of development that does not follow the principles of rights-based development (equity, non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and participation) violates the tenets of the right, and thus the essence of development, even if it manages to attain certain rights and freedoms. For example, a country may choose to prioritise certain outcomes, such as compulsory schooling for all children or a social security programme for the aged, as its goals for development. While consensus may prevail on the goals, there is a possibility of disagreement over the process of realising the goals, given the existence of several alternative processes.

For example, among the many alternative processes available for implementingcompulsory education, there may be a situation in which the Government is faced with threemain policy options: (i) coercing parents to send their children to school; (ii) creating a demandfor education amongst parents and children; or (iii) diverting money from other developmentneeds in order to construct schools where none exist. The choice of options in the case of theright to development is not determined simply by utilitarian calculations of the number of persons benefited. Rather, in deciding upon the choice of policies, the consistency of humanrights with both outcomes and process is given primary importance. In all cases, policy decisionsmust be evaluated in terms of each of the tenets of a rights-based development approach. Optionone, for example, directly contradicts the accepted norms of democratic decision-making.However, if the State fails to create demand for education among minority groups, or follows adiscriminatory, non-participatory process of policy making, then option two likewise does non constitute a suitable, rights-based policy choice. In the case of option three, while the construction of new schools does improve upon the accessibility and availability of education, at the micro level the cost of school construction could result in the corresponding reduction in spending on the realisation of another right, such as a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant women and children. The achievement of one right at the expense of another also fails to be a viable policy choice.

The right to development framework does not sponsor a trade-off approach todevelopment outcomes, as “all human rights are regarded as inviolable and none of them isconsidered superior or more basic than another.”Even so, it is possible to prioritise the progressive realisation of rights, as the rate of fulfillment of some rights may be accelerated more than others depending upon resource constraints and social preferences. One set of rights is not considered superior over other rights; rather, individual communities and societies would choose their own programmes of development in accordance with the given state of affairs. For instance, a developing country may choose to prioritise the fulfillment of the right to food or the right to basic health care while a relatively better- off country may choose to accelerate other areas of rights fulfillment.

The integrated and holistic approach that takes into account the rights and freedoms of citizens in determining the processes as well as outcomes of development distinguishes the right to development from other existing approaches to development. Emphasising the interdependent nature of rights, the right to development consciously links the realisation of each right with the performance of other rights, conceptualising a framework of progressive and integratedrealisation of all rights. In doing so, it explicitly presses for a more comprehensive treatment of rights than has traditionally been the case in highlighting the inadequacies of the existing process of development.

Attention to process also raises other related concerns. The identification of development as a human right makes it obligatory for the State, by virtue of being the primary duty-holder, to undertake specific responsibilities towards respecting, fulfilling and protecting the right to development of citizens. States have the obligation to respect, which includes a positive affirmation on the part of the State not to undertake any action that would cause obstruction orhindrance in the process of right’s fulfillment. Then States also have the obligation to protect and safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals from negative actions arising on account of unethical practices. The protective function of the State is the most important as well as manageable aspect of the State’s obligations, as the State’s role in the protection of economic,social and cultural rights are very similar to its role as protector of civil and political rights. However, the State also has the positive obligation to facilitate and aid the process of rights realisation by undertaking affirmative action that guarantees suitable opportunities and means for citizens to realise their needs.

The lack of sufficient resources has often been quoted by States, especially in the developing world, as a reason for the inability to provide for certain basic rights for all. While this may be a plausible situation, in order for a State party to be able to attribute its failure to meet at least its minimum core obligations to a lack of available resources, “it must demonstrate that every effort has been made to use all resources that are at its disposition in an effort to satisfy, as a matter of priority, those minimum obligations.”While the full realisation of relevant rights may be achieved progressively, “deliberate, concrete and targeted” steps towards that goal must be taken by the State to demonstrate its seriousness in according importance to the realisation of basic rights. It is significant that a State in which a significant number of individuals are deprived of “essential foodstuffs, of essential primary health care, of basic shelter and housing, or of the most basic forms of education,” is prima facie considered as having failed in the discharge of its primary obligations.

The obligation to take steps towards the realisation of basic rights “by all appropriate means” by States includes a commitment to all three levels of obligations— respect protect and fulfill. While the obligations to respect and protect may appear to be less demanding than the right to fulfill, which necessarily involves a certain degree of affirmative action on the part of States, representatives of the State must still struggle to make themselves relatively autonomous of the dominant structures of power within a country, in order to address conflicts and differing interests among groups or individuals while respecting and protecting fundamental rights.

In India, contradictions in the development process necessarily create divisions between groups and communities, so that affirmative action becomes a social necessity. In addressing concerns such as equity, the selection of a set of policies from amongst many is not as “technical” as is made out to be: the choice is a political one involving considerations and calculations of policies that may not be acceptable to both powerful and dispossessed segments or classes of society.Therefore, the State must mediate the crucial interests or various stakeholders, in the process of ensuring a fair and equitable solution to the problems of development.

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action states in Article 10 "The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirms the right to development', as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development, as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights. As stated in the Declaration on the Right to Development, the human person is the central subject of development. While development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. States should cooperate with each other in ensuring development and eliminating obstacles to development. The international community should promote an effective international cooperation for the realization of the right to development and the elimination of obstacles to development. Lasting progress towards the implementation of the right to development requires effective development policies at the national level, as well as equitable economic relations and a favourable economic environment at the international level."

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the right to development as an indigenous peoples' right. The declaration states in its preamble that the General Assembly is "Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests."

Article 23 elaborates "Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions."

United Nations Dealing with Right To Development

The intergovernmental open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development was established in 1998. The Working Group meets once a year and reports to the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the GA. Its mandate is inter alia: (a) to monitor and review progress made in the promotion and implementation of the right to development as elaborated in the Declaration, at the national and international levels, providing recommendations thereon and further analyzing obstacles to its full enjoyment…; (b) to review reports and any other information submitted by States, United Nations agencies, other relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations on the relationship between their activities and the right to development; and (c) to present for the consideration of the HRC a sessional report on its deliberations, including advice to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with regard to the implementation of the right to development, and suggesting possible programmes of technical assistance at the request of interested countries with the aim of promoting the implementation of this right. Until April 2010, the Working Group was supported by the high-level task force on the implementation of the right to development, established in 2004 with the composition of five independent experts, to provide expert advice to the Working Group2. At the request of the Working Group, the high-level task force proposed a set of criteria and corresponding operational sub- criteria3 for the implementation of the right to development.

Mandate Of The High Commissioner And OHCHR Concerning The Right To Development

GA resolution 48/141 which established the post of High Commissioner (HC) explicitly includes the mandate “to promote and protect the realization of the right to development and to enhance support from relevant bodies of the UN system for this purpose.” The right to development has been consistently highlighted by the GA and the HRC which both request the Secretary-General and the HC to report annually on progress in the implementation of the right to development including activities aimed at strengthening the global partnership for development between Member States, development agencies and the international development, financial and trade institutions. UN agencies and international institutions involved in the work of human rights and development as well as the right to development include UNDP, UNCTAD, UNFCCC, ECA, the World Bank, IMF, WTO, UNESCO, WIPO, WHO, the Global Fund and ICTSD.

What is the added value of the Right to Development?

The right to development provides a comprehensive framework and approach to the policies and programmes of all relevant actors at the global, regional, sub-regional and national levels as this right -

:- integrates aspects of both human rights and development theory and practice;

:- encompasses all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural; requires active, free and meaningful participation; :- involves both national and international dimensions of State responsibilities including in the creation of an enabling environment for development and favourable conditions for all human rights; :- demands comprehensive and human-centred development policy, participatory development processes, social justice and equity; :- embodies the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation, transparency, accountability as well as international cooperation in an integrated manner; :- implies the principles of self-determination and full sovereignty over natural wealth and resources; :- facilitates a holistic approach to the issue of poverty by addressing its systemic and structural causes; :- strengthens the basis for pro-poor growth with due attention to the rights of the most marginalized; :- fosters friendly relations between states, international solidarity, cooperation and assistance in areas of concern to developing countries, including technology transfer, access to essential medicines, debt sustainability, development aid, international trade and policy space in decision- making.

How can the right to development be operationalized in practical terms?

With the purpose of translating the right to development from political commitment to development practice, the criteria proposed by the high-level task force were designed to serve as an operational tool to:

:- assess the extent to which States are individually and collectively taking steps to establish, promote and sustain national and international arrangements that create an enabling environment for the realization of the right to development; :- serve as a useful tool for stakeholders to assess the current state of the implementation of the right to development and facilitate its further realization at the international and national levels; :- contribute to mainstreaming the right to development in the policies and operational activities of relevant actors at the national, regional and international levels, including multilateral financial, trade and development institutions; and :- evaluate the human rights implications of development and trade policies and programmes.

The operationalization of the right to development also requires application of the above-mentioned human rights principles and good governance to the activities of all relevant stakeholders at both the national and international levels.

Right to development as a human right

The existence of a right to developmentwas first asserted in 1977. Following manyyears of debate, that was centred on the conceptual differences regarding the right andthe political differences of states that reflected the cold war tensions, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD) in 1986, proclaiming that :

“ The ri ght t o d e v e l o p m e n t i s a n inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in,contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rightsand fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”

And in 1993, it was declared that the right to development is “a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights”. And nowadays, references to the

right to development are seen in all major U N

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economic,social and cultural rights.

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development, equality of opportunity and

cre ation of favourable condit ions for the enjoyment of other civil, political,

The r i g h t t o d e v e l o p m e n t , incorporating all human rights and recognizing that all rights and freedoms are indivisible and interdependent, is presented as a fusion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is these rights and freedoms that protect our dignity as human beings, and the enjoyment of all human rights is facilitated through the right to development. There is universal consensus that development is important to humanity as it would enable every person in the world to enjoy their rights and freedoms– civi l and poli tic al, econo mic, s ocial and cultural as well as other specified rights and to pursue what they value.

This idea is not only “appealing” but is the primary objective and the means of

d e v e l o p m e n t . W h e n

empowered,through their human rights, to “…resist torture,arbitrary incarceration and racial discrimination to demanding an end to hunger and starvation, and to medical neglect across the globe.” Freedom is essential to the realisation of these rights as to be “free is to be unrestrained by others in the pursuit of one’sends”, and freedom is valuable because it provides opportunities to pursue our objectives and things that we value. It also ensures that one is not forced into something because of constraints imposed by others. Consider a person in a least developed nation who wants to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, but have to give up on that dream because she is denied even the basic education, due to the lack of schools in her village. When she grows up she is forced to resorting to prostitution as a means of survival. While this may (or may not)bring in money, the lack of choice and opportunity through the lack of freedom is humiliating and takes away her human dignity. There is the lack of opportunity to get oneself educated, to seek

medical help when infected with HIV, the lack of choice of work, or toescape the freedom of starvation. To develop therefore, means the removal of this lack of freedom “…that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency. The removal of substantive unf r e e d o m s … i s

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f u n d a m e n t a l freedoms are ensured, people are









o f development.”

The right to development would therefore ensure the eradication of the various constraints that lock humans in impoverishment and deprivation, in terms of material goods and the ability to exercise their rights. Specific reference to the cooperation to eliminate the obstacles to development is therefore made in the Vienna Declaration, and Article 28 of the UDHR which state that“Everyone isentitled to a social International order in which the rights and freedoms set forthing this declaration can be fully realized” could be inferred to imply a right to the removal of the impediments to development.

Interpreted in this way, the developed community could act not to deny the rights of those who are unable to realise their rights due to lack of development. The UDHR reminds that “Everyone owes duties to the community”and this community is not only the neighbouring countries, but is also the global community. For Rawls, a decent society or community is one that honours the basic human rights that respect the humanity of its members, and these rights includes among others, a minimum right to the means of subsistence. A decent people does not let its members die of starvation. The rights to education or health would be less useful as rights that respect human dignity when there are no ways of realising them through the availability of schools or hospitals. And the rights to freedom of assembly, speech, and political participation matter little when daily life is a struggle for survival.

The realization of these rights, and a life in dignity then require an adequate standard of living.“A fully human life cannot be achieved…if the availability of social goods is so reduced that life itself becomes nothing more than a struggle to survive.” And development, as “a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, …aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals…”This improvement would entail a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being and development would mean improvement in this well-being, which can be described as the level of realization of the fundamental rights.

The right to development could then be seen to derive from the inherent dignity of the human person because it helps to attain both freedom and well being, which is what gives the humans their equal worth. As content of the right to development is founded on the Bill of Human Rights , the legal basis for theright to development can therefore be derived from the UDHR, the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

However, not everyone is satisfied with that there is any moral or legal basis for the right to development. Much in the same manner that human rights have been denied as some to exist and that belief in them equals belief in witches and unicorns , the right to development has also been said to be nothing more than a mythical unicorn. Criticism is levelled at the right to development as it being meaningless, dangerous, and catastrophic and a total failure , in that states will be unable to fully realize all of its components. But it is worth noting that something cannot be both equally meaningless and dangerous because that which is meaningless is unlikely to be dangerous.

As mentioned earlier, the right to development is one of the third generation rights and Donnelly sees that the use of the term ‘generation’ is dangerous because it would mean that the solidarity rights would replace the already established preceding generation of rights. But this interpretation is erroneous as generations of rights do not make each other obsolete but add upon each other and the right to development derives its basis from the interconnected of all the rights and development is needed to realize of these rights. It is this striking feature of the right to development in asserting the unity of all human rights, that its rejection equates to the rejection of even some of the other basic rights.

Another contention that Donnelly finds to be dangerous is the claim to be developed,as distinct from a right to pursue development. But the right to development does not assert that the human individual should be fully developed or that it is the end the right is seeking to achieve. It asserts that we have a right to pursue development, to the base on which one can construct a meaning full life through freedom and well-being. As noted above, it forms the means as well as the ends. Further more, the realisation of rights does not have to be in full or may end up not being fulfilled, even in the case of civil and political rights where it would seem that resources play little role. But no state can afford a police force adequate enough to secure the right to life of every citizen.

However, the aspect of Donnelly’s argument that continues as one of the challenges to the right to development is the difficulty in determining who is to exercise the right. As with all third generation rights, it is uncertain of its holder and the duty-bearer.

Right to Development in the Context of the Indian Development Experience

As a country, the Indian experience with development provides an interesting test case. Predominantly capitalist in orientation, traces of feudal life still exist in certain parts of the country that pose a challenge to the democratic norms of modern society.

Bonded wage labour as opposed to free employment, small-scale labour intensive manufacturing units vis-a vis larger and fully automated units of production, the co-existence of a relatively small organised sector with a massively huge and heterogeneous unorganised sector, are a few reflections of the complexities involved. For example, while India ranks high in terms of global competitiveness,India’s social indicators remain weak by most measures of human development. In terms of human development ranking, India ranks at par with countries having lower per capita in comes. Desperately low achievements in attaining equity of opportunities to basic goods and services, such as schools and hospitals, make the application of the rights-based approach to development imperative in India.

The history of the last fifty-plus years of development planning in India has been characterised precisely by attempts at resolving and reducing contradictions in development,either through State- encouraged initiatives or direct public action. Despite impressive gains in economic investment and output, massive overpopulation, disparate levels of welfare, extensive poverty and high environmental degradation place India in a peculiar situation. On the one hand,the country produces highly qualified professionals, yet on the other, approximately 20 percent of the world’s out-of-

school children belong to India. The issue at hand is not just about unmet needs and aspirations, but

a larger question of the State’s responsibilities and obligations towards maximising the redress of

socio economic imbalances and inequities. The poor suffer from extreme lack of access to a range of basic services, denying them economic, social and cultural rights, while assaulting the principles of political equality and social justice enshrined in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

Historically, the formal end of two hundred years of colonial rule in August 1947 presented a significant opportunity for social and economic transformation. From 1757, the year the East India

Company established its control over Bengal till the very last years of colonial rule, India remained

a prized possession of the British. An ideology of “paternalistic benevolence, occasionally

combined with talk of trusteeship and training towards self-government”, thinly veiled the realities of the Raj. The unsatisfactory diffusion and denial of the accrued benefits to a large majority of the native Indian population, along with gradual impoverishment under colonialism, provided the immediate imperative for an indigenously designed, self-reliant programme of development. Amid other developing countries who gained independence around the same period, the relatively better position of India gave rise to genuine expectations that despite the grinding poverty, the country would manage to embark on a successful programme of national reconstruction and development. India benefited from a rich stock of natural resources, an industrial base which by the standards of other colonies was fairly broad and advanced, a bureaucratic and administrative apparatus and lastly

a political leadership committed to a programme of modernisation.

It is interesting to note that while the very political strategy of building up a mass movement against colonial rule had required the nationalists to espouse Gandhi’s idea of machinery, commercialisation and centralised state power as the curses of modern civilisation imposed by European colonialism, Gandhi’s vision of national self-sufficiency through a vibrant and largely self-reliant village economy was considered to be too impractical and unrealistic at the eve of Independence. Instead of the Gandhian model of community-based decentralised development, a centralised model of planned development was adopted, in the hope of rapid industrial and economic transformation, very much influenced by the theories of socialist development. The central core of the development policy was a move towards a capital intensive, public sector led programme of heavy industrialisation. The strategy “did not draw its principal inspiration from a reasoned analysis and assessment of the political economy of the country, its resources, social structure and the immediate needs of its people.” Instead, it drew upon the very model of the modern industrial economy that the freedom struggle had criticised severely in its drain of wealth theory. The initiation of an aggressive policy of industrialisation minus commensurate attention on other equally more important goals of development therefore left much to be desired.

The Planning Commission in Delhi was designated as the nodal body responsible for formulating development plans between the Centre and the States. At the regional level, the State was recognised as the fundamental planning unit. Each State unit was divided into several districts, which in turn were divided into blocks. A cluster of villages made up a particular block.While the administrative structure was kept the same for all States, there was relatively little uniformity maintained between States in terms of area or population size. For the smaller states while the three- tiered structure did not create problems, for bigger states such as Madhya Pradesh, even a district formed too big an administrative unit. While the village was accepted as the basic unit of the organisational framework, there was relatively very little delegation of decision-making powers at the level of local Panchayat bodies.The call for decentralised planning that had been a rallying point during the freedom movement was shelved, in advertently leading to the exclusion of the community from the realm of policy making.

While a popularly elected representative form of government provided both the legitimacy and the mandate to the Executive to determine the vision and course of development,the Executive in India also retained a degree of autonomy from the civil society in determining the goals and objectives of development. The Westminster model of parliamentary democracy in fact replicated the colonial practice of giving the Executive de facto powers to decide, plan and execute all policies related to national and regional development. A strong consensus existed among the political leadership and the immensely powerful bureaucracy concerning the central importance of industrialisation in laying the groundwork for development. While the Government formally announced the abolition of zamindari and placed ceilings on land ownerships, these concerns were considered to be of secondary importance to the industrialisation that continued to be closely identified with modernisation .

A right that addresses contemporary challenges

Widening poverty gaps, food shortages, climate change, economic crises, armed conflicts, rising unemployment, popular unrest, and other pressing challenges confront our world today. The right to development, which embodies the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability as well as international cooperation, can guide our responses to a series of contemporary issues and challenges.

The right to development is not about charity, but enablement and empowerment. The Declaration identifies obstacles to development, empowers individuals and peoples, calls for an enabling environment and good governance at both national and international levels, and enhances accountability of duty bearers - governments, donors and recipients, international organizations, transnational corporations, and civil society.

IdentifyingIdentifying rightsrights andand obligationsobligations

In the context of human rights in general, the human individual is the right-holder (of civil, political, social and economic rights for instance) and the duty bearer is the nation state of that individual. As the duty- bearer, the state has a negative duty that obliges it not to violate human rights, a positive duty to protect the individuals from violation of human rights, and a duty to fulfil,which requires the state to create frameworks that enables the realization of human rights.

In the context of the right to development, it is the people and their human rights that are at the subjects and are at the centre of the development process. The human person is the central subject and is the active participant and the beneficiary of the right to development. And the duty-bearers are identified by the Declaration as the nation and the international community at the same time.The role of the state and of the international community and their duties are given in the Declaration on the Right to Development;Article 3(1) provides that it is the states that have the primary responsibility for the creation of national and international conditions favourable to the realization of the right to development; Article 3(3) refers to the duty of all states to cooperate with each other in ensuring development and eliminating obstacles to development. Article 4 follows to refer to the duty of all states to take steps to formulate international development policies in order to facilitate the full realization of the right to development. The states are therefore duty bearers not only at the national level but at the international level as well. The states are interdependent on each other in order to fulfil these duties, and the right to development of the people would extend to that of the state,and even more meaningful if the state’s rights take dominance over that of the individual. Because when the right is conditioned on the prerogative that both the state and the people have the opportunity to develop , it is difficult to identity who is to be developed and who is to do the developing