Book review: Subhash Sharma, Development and its Discontent

Publication Date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021
AuthorYatish Mishra
DOI10.1177/00195561211045813
SubjectBook Reviews
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
67(4) 666–682, 2021
© 2021 IIPA
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DOI: 10.1177/00195561211045813
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Book Reviews
Subhash Sharma, Development and its Discontent. New Delhi: Rawat
Publications, XIV+266 pp., `850.00, ISBN: 9788131607077.
‘Development has been a contentious term from the very beginning’. The opening
line of the book which is under review unfolds the whole story played in the name
of development. Divided in eight chapters, the book covers almost all gamut
related to the development, namely, development for what, whom and at what
cost; population and development; food security; use and abuse of water; poverty
eradication: microfinance and beyond; higher education in India: core issues and
policy implications; school education of the marginalised; environmental
movements by the marginalised, and so on and so forth.
The rst chapter deals with various myths linked to the development like: (a)
economic growth, that is, an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in
per capita income; (b) ‘catching up’ with the Western model of capitalist
industrialisation—a model that is presumed to be universal and to transcend time
and place; (c) development is based purely on scientic parameters: rationality,
quantiability and measurability; (d) a high level of consumerism; (e) big
structures or things—big farm, big dam, big factory and so on; (f) more and faster
development is the result of globalisation; (g) development is changing the upper
echelons of the society, who are economically better off, educationally more
aware of the written knowledge, socially superior in the hierarchy and politically
more conscious of their rights; (h) visible concrete structures, namely, roads,
buildings, power houses and water plants; (i) development is, and can be, done
only by government or semi-government machinery and from government/semi-
government fund, international development agencies, multinational companies
or national corporate capitalists; (j) the language of development needs to be
external, usually English; (k) development is ‘immediate’ that is ‘here and now’;
(l) the optimum utilisation and exploitation of natural resources is necessary and
inevitable for the development.
Illustrating through more than 19 tables and gures, second chapter traces the
history of population growth; focuses up on life expectancy; family planning;
population versus food production, health, Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), population as an asset because of new human resource to contribute to
economy, culture, politics and society.
The third chapter ‘Food Security: Critical Issues and Perspectives’ deals with its
national and international scenario, causes and consequences of food crisis, policy
implications, and nally suggests some useful measures that need to add up.

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