Development Dynamics – Paper I

Development Dynamics

The development dynamics meaning, science dealing with the study of factors determining development processes and dynamics producing growth or a change in a public system, is one the important factors determining public administration. The study of development dynamics in public administration involves the study of concepts like anti-development thesis, counter development thesis, self-help groups, the impact of liberalisation, etc. The development dynamics notes are here to help you learn these concepts.

I) Anti Development Thesis

In general, public administration has been overly concerned with ‘bureaucracy’ and the change the people seem to have been out of the purview of the administration. Therefore people must be accepted as actors in administration, particularly, develop administration. This role of the people as ‘participants’ in administration is to be given importance.

In the 1960s and 1970s disappointment at the failure of the trickle-down effect of economic development inspired some social scientists to think of an alternative non-western practice.

The concept of counter development was formulated as an alternative, the basic idea of which was a group of poor people, organized on a self-help basis and aided to some extent by change agents, could agree on collective action and operate cooperative economic projects for the benefit of their members.

It was posed as a challenge to normal or conventional development which took care of the interest of the capitalist and theoretical conviction of counter-development exponents came from field experience and the disenchantment with society-wide structural change that failed to bring any real relief to the poor. They argued that at the level of a relatively small group it was perhaps possible to reconcile contradictory development goals, to combine aggregate growth with consensual, non-market rules for the distribution of benefits, to make good use of individuals outstanding managerial skills without shifting members participation.

According to David Korten, Counter Development Thesis (CDT) is a people-centred vision and similarly, Human Development Report 1993 also commented that people participation is becoming a central issue of our times.

South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation Report 1992′ also pointed out the shift from state-led development to local community-based development after being disillusioned with the working of the political system and administrative machinery and the constraints within the state.

The focus of the Counter Development Thesis is on the development activities of locally rooted, particularly micro-development organizations. At the formal level, this shift is evident in the increasing attention being paid to village officers and non-government organizations in asserting the positive values of participation of the poor in developing and bringing social changes within a democratic political framework.

Counter Development Thesis

In the counter-development thesis participation of people is defined as a ‘socially vibrant grass root process whereby people identify with the process as their own, with occasional help from facilitators’. The process is inherently educative i.e., learning by doing leading progressively to a higher level of consciousness which evolve through newer experiences of facing reality. They are then able to participate as active subjects in the development process rather than as passive objects.

The conventional development research by attaching importance to the technical knowledge of the outside expert over the indigenous knowledge of the people being studied or helped has become “anti-developmental” because it prevents people from thinking and acting for themselves.

Counter-development thesis expectation has been that the poor would be able to investigate into the causalities of their deprivation and evolve their science of systematic thinking, to improve their lot and to negotiate from a position of strength with an advisory group. 

According to the counter-development thesis, there are different forms of community organization representing collecting action by underprivileged people.

  1. They can be grass-root organizations that are economic undertaking income-generating activities with the help of internal resource mobilization supplemented by resource ad knowledge support from outside. 
  2. They can also organizations that engage in ‘pressure group’ activities. They resist oppression by other groups, assert economic, social human rights including women’s · rights or demand services.
  3. Some organizations may act in specific areas like health, education, and culture.
  4. Some aim at the promotion of holistic life by way of activities that integrate spiritual advancement with economic and social development.
  5. Some organizations function to promote ecologically oriented development such as organic agriculture social forestry, coastal fishing etc.
  6. Some perceive participatory action research to develop people’s thinking about their living conditions and environment.

The counter-Development thesis emphasizes community participation rather than popular participation. The former connotes direct involvement of the people especially the poorest and more disadvantaged section of the population in local developmental affairs while the latter is related to appropriate mechanisms through which people are involved in the political, economic and social life of a nation.

The counter-Development thesis emphasizes authentic participation rather than pseudo participation. Whereas former involves the community as a whole in all the process of local development decisions in an autonomous fashion while the latter limits community and to a mere implementation or ratification of decisions already taken by external agencies:

Also, counter development thesis recognizes spontaneous participation rather than coerce and induced participation which banks upon the use of force, allurement etc. While spontaneous participation is characterized by peoples voluntary and autonomous actions Unaided by government or external agencies. But it is extreme care. Therefore in practice, at least, initially the leadership push from an external agent be it a social worker or political leader is resorted.

Such an act helps to rebuild community cohesion and instils a sense of dignity into the community. People gain confidence and steadily emerge as real actors in development drama. It brings the possibility of equity into resource distribution.

But the critics point of following limitations

  1. Conflicts and rivalries are not uncommon even among the poor and underprivileged. Therefore the romantic vision of frictionless, harmonious community life does not tally with ground reality.
  2. Autonomous local community participation for grass-root development is conceived as an antidote to top-down benevolent development.
  3. In reality, external intervention, be it social activists or political leaders has been found necessary almost everywhere to organize the local community and to mobilize local people against the oppression or for the articulation of local demands.
  4. Community mobilization cannot on its own correct the basic social imbalances that have their roots in deeper socio-economic layers of society.

Therefore State has to intervene but in a participatory mode and not in manipulative mode and incremental mode. Under participatory mode state has to ensure genuine participatory involvement, resources are provided to local bodies and bureaucracy is sensitized through training and directives to facilitate participative development. Within on overall developmental planning framework, central, regional and local developmental policies are sought to be orchestrated, organized and harmonized.

II) Impact Of Liberalisation On Administration In Developing Countries

Globalisation, Liberalisation and Privatisation are increasingly changing the character of the state and the nature of Public Administration. Responding to challenges posed by globalization and liberalisation has not been an easy issue for Public Administration. Several strategies have been adopted by scholars and practitioners to cope with the pressures of liberalization. These need to be discussed in terms of the paradigm shift that is tending to change the nature and character of Public Administration. The impact of globalization / Liberalisation is observed in the following areas:

Public Service Reforms

One of the dominant reasons which compel consideration for public service reforms is the adoption of a free-market economy in the 1980s in the UK and other Western countries and in the 1990s in Indian, which is also known by different names, viz. New Economic Policy, Structural Adjustment Programme, privatization, liberalization, deregulation and contrasting out. The impact of the free market economy on the concept of government, structure of government and also on the way of governance are on the agenda of discussion world over. It is based on the perception that private is good and the public is bad. The consequences of free-market reforms on government and governmental business are generally described as the new way of governance, government by the market, reinventing government, new public management, sharing power, slimming of state, hollowing out of state and so on.

Reinventing Government

New Public Management (NPM) has had the most significant impact on reshaping public administration to cope with the challenges of globalization. The policies of developed and developing countries are being increasingly influenced by NPM and reinventing government prescriptions. These are: privatization and deregulation, establishing market-like mechanisms, decentralization and debureaucratisation. The recent thinking revolves around the fact that the business principles need to be introduced and effectively adhered to in conducting public business. It has been stated that by New Public Management and reinventing government advocates the government should not only adopt the techniques of business administration but also adopt the values of the business. The basic principles for reinventing government are: steering rather than rowing; empowering rather than serving; injecting competition into the service delivery, transforming a rule-driven organization, meeting needs of the customers not be bureaucracy; from hierarchy to participation and leveraging change through the market.

The New Public Management focuses on management, not policy and performance appraisal, and efficiency. It deals with converting public bureaucracies into agencies on which deal with each other on a user-pay basis. It also uses quasi-market and contracting out to foster competition. It is a style of management that aims at cutting no cost, reducing public expenditure and a style of management that emphasizes output and providing monetary incentives to increased performance and empowering let is managers.

Entrepreneurial Government

Efficiency and productivity, the hall-mark entrepreneurial government are two areas where considerable changes have resulted due to the constant pressure of globalization. Public sector organizations are now under worldwide pressure to enhance their productivity by increasing efficiency. Along with cutting down waste and increasing output, the public bureaucracies are trying to simultaneously facilitate better delivery of services.

Changing Role of Bureaucracy

The process of economic liberalization in its basic conceptual formulation seeks a reduced governmental intervention in the economic sector, thus implying a reduced role for the bureaucracy in the process of development. There has to be a realization that with the switch over globalization, liberalization and privatization, the bureaucracy will have to play its role of catalyst for change. In the new economic order, the bureaucracy has to function as a helper, an accelerator, a booster.

Good Governance

The key items on the development agenda of the 1990s have reform of public administration and issues of governance amongst their priorities. ‘Governance’ deals with the capacity of the government to design, formulate and implement policies, and in general to discharge their functions. Good governance is more than a mere word that implies efficient public administration. It is the process of building and enduring bridges between the state and the society at large through effective and people-oriented mechanisms of administration.

The concept of good governance was conceived in 1989. It was found mention in a World Bank Report on Sub-Saharan Africa. It defined good governance as efficient public service, a reliable judicial system and an administration that is accountable to the public. Good governance is associated with efficient and effective administration in a democratic framework.

It is equivalent to purposive and development-oriented administration which is committed to improvement in the quality of life of the people. It implies a high level of organizational effectiveness. In simple words, good governance can be considered as citizen-friendly, citizen caring and responsive administration.


A search for alternative delivery systems has always attracted the attention of experts in public administration. Since the 1980s, many scholars have been advocating privatization as well as e-governance as such solution e-governance is the application of IT to the process of government functioning to bring Simple, Moral Accountable, Responsive and Transparent (SMART) governance. The speed and transparency associated with e-governance have the potential to make public administration responsive and efficient.

Bringing the State Back

Globalisation is perceived as the spread of liberalization on a universal scale with liberalization essentially meaning the process of freeing the economy from state control. In other words, the economy operates as per the market forces and not as per rules/regulations laid down by the state. Now the big question is: how and where does the state figure in the backdrop of globalization. As a consequence of globalization and indeed, according to increasingly accepted views as a precondition, the state has been withdrawing / retreating / abstaining from many areas of the economy. A liberalizing state is focusing on the core areas such as defence and foreign affairs leaving other areas open to private players, both au and foreign. At the same time, precisely because the state is retreating. enterprises, as well as the non-state actors such as voluntary agencies, groups and community-based organizations, are automatically filling the vacuum.

The current trend is toward the blatant capitalist subjugation of the globe in the garb of neo-liberalism so far as the Third World State is concerned, the issue is not State versus Market, but changing the character of the state so that a vital power shift can take place from the bourgeoisies-feudalism bureaucracy combine to a genuine peoples democracy. The market-friendly and marginalized state would pave the way for capitalists. world development, whereas the Third World, needs an altogether different model of development that will assure the general welfare of the masses and an equalitarian social life free from exploitation and deprivation. The World Bank-sponsored ‘rethinking the State’ is on close inspection a fraud on political theory, including theories of public administration.

The World Bank touted State – minimalism and market-friendly approach to Third World development pose serious problems for the State led development efforts in countries like ours, where the government has to mobiles social efforts to struggle against poverty, ill-health, malnutrition and the forces of inequity and injustice in a feudal capitalist social regime. As Paul Streeten has forcefully argued: “the issue is not to get the government off our backs and let there be market; the real issue is: to have a strong State with an expanded agenda, though a different one, differently implanted from that which the State has commonly adopted in many developing countries.

It could be viewed that while ensuring that the state is not deprived of its regulatory function, it is not such a bad idea if the state withdraws or at least, substantially withdraws from the non-essential sectors of the economy. It should, however, continue to maintain a visible presence in social sectors like education, health and so on.

Empowering citizens

Globalisation from below has also witnessed the rise of grassroots, people active participation at the local level in areas such as women’s empowerment, education for all human rights including the rights of the poor, consumer – rights, environmental protection and decentralization. Thus, empowering citizens has been a key component of the recent reform wave surrounding public administration.


Thus, due to globalisation public administration seems to be moving more towards the protection of citizens rights accountability, ethical values, research and training. Emphasis has shifted to good governance, E-governance and corporate governance as the framework of administrative analysis. The concepts of work, authority and role of the state are changing. The accent on participation, transparency, decentralization and accountability is urging the scholars to revamp administrative structure and process to meet emerging challenges. A basic requirement in the context of economic reforms is the dismantling of the regulatory structure. Besides, it is also necessary to shake off the sloth of public administrators to provide a vigorous response to the challenges posed by the economic reforms.

III) Women And Development – The Self Help Group Movement

When a group of poor or disadvantaged people voluntarily come together with the clear objectives of bringing about positive changes in the situation in which they find themselves through self-help and self-reliance, such a group is called a Self-Help group

Self-Help Groups (SHG) can be of different types. However, they have become synonymous with savings and credit groups. A saving and credit group is specialized group members who agree to form themselves into a group and function in an ongoing manner with the specific objective of pooling their savings to give credit to its members for meeting their consumption and production needs. The main objective of these groups 15 is to improve the economic and social status of the members in terms of their needs and interests.

Salient Features Of Self Help Groups

  1. A self-help group is a small voluntary association of poor people preferably from the same socio-economic background. The objective of the group is to come together to solve their common problems through self-help and mutual help.
  2. It normally comprises poor people who do not have access to formal financial institutions. The self-help groups act as the forum for the members to provide space and support to each other.
  3. The self-help group promotes small savings among its members. A common fund is created in the name of the self-help group.
  4. Usually, social workers, village level workers and non-governmental organizations help in the formation of self-help groups.

Pre-requisites For The Success Of The Self Help Groups

The following are considered as the pre-requisites for the success of Self-Help Groups:

  1. The membership should be homogenous i.e., the Self-Help Group should as for as possible comprise people from a comparable socio-economic background.
  2. The membership should be limited to 15 to 20 members to enable meaningful participation. However, the membership should not be too small which makes the financial transactions insignificant.
  3. Total participation in regular meetings is necessary,
  4. All financial and non-financial transactions should be transparent in the self-help groups. Maintenance of books of accounts as also other records like the attendance register are important.

Andhra Pradesh – A Fore Runner In Self Help Groups

Many states have attempted to promote self-help groups. Andhra Pradesh is at the forefront of the formation of Self-Help groups and is a shining example of “Women as an agent of change and development for the needy at the grassroots level. Initially, it was started as an experiment to promote the habit of thrift among women from Below Poverty Line families. By the year 2008, over 6 lakh Self-Help Groups were covering approximately 87 lakh, women, with a corpus of over Rs. 3,000 crores amongst them. The government has also implemented an innovative scheme of providing bank loans to Women self-help groups at a cheaper interest rate of 3.% as against the existing interest rates of 12 % in the commercial banks. The State government pays the differential rates of interest to the banks under a unique scheme supported by the centre to revive the economic activity in the villages. The scheme has been very successful and as of November 2007, the commercial banks had advanced Rs. 8,779.77 crore as loans to the women self-help groups. The collection of arrears was as high as 97%.

Andhra Pradesh success has been a model for many other States and is worthy of emulation. American President George W. Bush remarked, ” I wish this model of Andhra Pradesh in utilizing the mothers, sisters, and housewives as tools of development is emulated worldwide”.

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