Redefining growth – These countries measure their growth with the Happiness Index of their people
In 2012, the United Nations declared 20th March to be observed as the International Day of Happiness. It is to recognize happiness as a fundamental human goal; hence it’s a call for the countries to approach public policies in ways that will lead to the improvement in the well-being of all people.
In regard to this, several countries have adopted commendable strategies. Among them, Bhutan’s name is in the forefront. This tiny and remote kingdom, nestling in the Himalayas surveys the level of happiness in the country through the Gross National Happiness Index. Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens’ happiness levels, not the GDP.
Bhutan instituted Gross National Happiness Index back in 1971. Since then, the country has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress and has initiated a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and the natural environment. As per Bhutan’s 2015 census, it was found that 35% of the population were extremely happy, 47.9% were moderately happy, and only 8.8% were unhappy. A UN panel is now considering ways to replicate the Bhutan’s Happiness Index model across the globe. Thailand and the United Kingdom have also tried out similar happiness projects.
Bhutan isn’t the only country with a desire to see more happy people; the United Arab Emirates joined the list in February 2016. The United Arab Emirates became the first Muslim country to appoint its first ever minister of state for happiness. Ohood Al Roumi is the one who leads the country’s attempt to secure happiness for its citizens. Her ministry aims to promote the UAE’s plans, programs and policies to promote happiness in the UAE society.
India is not too far behind!! Inspired by Bhutan’s Happiness Index model, Madhya Pradesh government created a ‘Department of Happiness’, to infuse positivity in the lives of people. The main motive behind setting up this department is to ensure happiness in the lives of people and to stop them from taking extreme steps when they are in distress.
Albert Schweitzer said, ‘Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.’ Happiness is the key to success, and probably that is the reason why countries across the globe are now emphasizing more on their citizen’s happiness chart.