Development is quite dynamic concept. It is ever changing. The concept of development is neither new nor old. It has been in existence since the human civilization began in different aspects. The nature of development has continuously evolved from what it was in 19th century to 1950s to 1990s. “The Commission on International Development Issues” popularly called as Brandt Commission has remarked that “Development never will be and never can be defined to the universal satisfaction”. Scholars like Uphoff and llchman are of the view that development is probably one of the most ‘depreciated’ terms as it has been used more that it has been understood.
Many scholars have defined development as the increase in the national GDP, some think it in terms of increasing the capacity of the political systems and some equate it with modernization. Thus development is a multifaceted phenomenon having social, political, economic, administrative criteria etc. Hence we can also speak in terms of ‘social development’, ‘political development’ or ‘economic development’. In public administration an integrated approach is taken while defining ‘development administration’ and social, economic development etc are taken as emanating from “development”.
Edward Weidner defines development as the process of growth in the direction of modernity and specifically in the direction of nation building and socio-economic progress. Colm and Geiger define development as change plus growth. Renowned Indian scholar terms it as ‘transformation of society’. Dudley Seers mentions development as the realization of the potential of human personality which could be best achieved by reduction of poverty, unemployment and inquality. He mentions if the national economy grows at quite fast pace but one or more of these central problems are not resolved then the result would not be termed as development. He has included ‘self reliance’ and ‘cultural independence’ also in the meaning of development. Life sustenance, self esteem and freedom of choice are the three core values of development according to Denis Goulet. Some have defined it as the changes in structures, institutions and attitudes as well as the reduction of poverty, inequality and economic growth. Social scientists widely accept development as a process of societal transformation from traditional society to a modem society. This is also called modernization. The Brandt Commission also defines development as the process of “profound transformation” of the entire social and economic structure. The World Development Report, 1991 gives quite comprehensive definition of development. According to it the challenge of development is to improve the quality of life. Improving quality of life doesn’t just entail increasing the income levels but it is just a means. The objective is to provide better education, health & nutrition, reduction of poverty, a clean environment, equality of opportunity, individual freedoms and a rich cultural life. All this has to be done without any bias or discrimination based on gender, caste, religion, locality, regions etc.
In the literature of administrative studies, large emphasis has been placed on economy and efficiency. Thus the main focus of administrative reforms has been on the “means” of doing things in “best possible manner” and the “goals” or “ends” of administration have been lost sight of. The ends have often been identified with economy and efficiency. Thus, overemphasis on economy and efficiency has served both ends as well as the means of administration. This blurring of distinction between means and ends has not created much trouble when large organization engaged in “routine” administrative matters were concerned. This overemphasis on means was taken note of by Edward Weidner and he commented “Public Administration has glorified the means and forgotten the ends”. To fill this void between means and ends, Weidner has given the concept of “development administration” which concentrates on setting objectives for the society and then pursuing them. Riggs also supported this view and studied how public administration operates in different ecological settings and changes itself to achieve a set of social goals.