Madhya Pradesh first Indian state to start ‘Gross Happiness Index’

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shivraj-singh-chouhanThough the Happiness Department created by the Madhya Pradesh government earlier this year is yet to take proper shape, it has come up with the first plan as to how a ‘Gross Happiness Index’ will be readied for 7.25 crore people in the state.

The happiness index is to be prepared by March 2017. The government said it would come out with measures to make people “happy and satisfied”, and then ask them questions to determine their level of fulfilment.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and 16 ministers marked themselves out of 35 on a five-point questionnaire aiming to test their levels of happiness.

Most of them gave themselves a score of 28 or more. The ministers were asked to mark themselves on the following points, in Hindi: ‘My life, on most counts, is closer to the ideals that I cherish’; ‘I am satisfied with my life’; ‘My life’s situation is best’; ‘I have got those important things that I wanted in my life’; and ‘If I got a chance to relive the life that I have lived so far, I, more or less, won’t change anything’.

Legislative Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra said the score of most of the 16 ministers fell within “extremely happy” and “very happy”. A score of less than 22 would have put them in “not so happy” or “sad” categories.

Separate teams will conduct surveys across the state to estimate the gross happiness among the citizens of the state. The teams will analyse the state’s growth on certain parametres. While another team will be responsible for propagating happiness among the people.

Anand Vibhag (Department of Hapiness) will work out a ‘Gross Happiness Index’ that would cover parameters ranging from the state’s gross domestic product to spirituality, health, meditation and yoga. The state will observe Anand Utsav from January 14 to 21 next year.

“As many as 10,000 gram panchayat will organise traditional sports and cultural activities for all groups of people,” Narottam Mishra, a cabinet colleague of Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.

Similarly, schools will have Anand Sabhas that would organise various special programmes to inculcate a message of living life with happiness and a similar drive will also be run at various government, non-government, semi-government organisations so that they could work with positivity.

State has also planned to create a research wing at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Bhopal. The wing will conduct studies on scientific research on happiness at national and international level.

‘Anand Dal’ or happiness team would also be constituted to encourage common citizens to volunteer for the department so that people could get motivation and live happily.

Earlier in July this year, the state government had created the department headed by the Chief Minister. The department will spend Rs 3.80 crore per annum on salaries and other related expenses.

The budgetary allocation to the department will be decided later. Madhya Pradesh has borrowed the idea of the happiness department from Bhutan, known as the happiest country in the world. Himalayan Kingdom introduced the concept of a Gross Happiness Index in 2010.

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