Today, economic growth is everybody’s concern and in such a milieu, growth theory has received particular attention of economists. Yet surprisingly, there is no consensus on the definition of the term. Different economists have used the term ‘economic growth’ to convey different meanings. In some cases the concepts differ in essence, whereas in others only in emphasis. Some other economists are of the view that the term ‘economic growth’ is very much obvious and there is no need to frame a precise definition of it. Thus, quite often no distinction is made between ‘economic growth’ and ‘economic development’ and the two terms are used interchangeably.
Others feel that clear and unambiguous definitions are a prerequisite to any precise analysis. Underlying the difficulties which most social scientists face in the absence of precise definitions, Ronald A. Shearer stated, “The literature of social sciences is a testimony to the errors; unnecessary confusions and prolonged debates which can result from an ambiguity on the level of basic conceptualisation.” There is certainly weight in Shearer’s observations. We also feel that to avoid ambiguity, it is better to identify economic growth in terms of some measurable criteria.