“Leaving no person behind” and “inclusiveness” are the two major core principles for the Gross National Happiness (GNH) policy. The first expression of Gross Happiness was seen in 1972 by the fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk when he responded to the Western economists who were constantly saying that Bhutan is poor in GDP. The King challenged that though they are poor in conventional resources, they were measurably high in happiness and togetherness. Following this, a 2007 global study about subjective well-being ranked Bhutan as 8th among 178 countries. Bhutan is also notable for being in the top 20 countries that are poor but happy. Later on, Bhutan started establishing many policies from poverty alleviation to universal healthcare and the Bhutanese people are performing up to their levels of comprehensive potential.
NINE DOMAINS OF GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
- HEALTH- aiding therapy and other medication by considering both the aspects of physical and mental health.
- PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING- includes aspects of individuals like life satisfaction, affect to situations, and spirituality.
- TIME USE- time constraints of working and non-working periods, sleep cycles and also considering the work-life time balance.
- COMMUNITY VITALITY-focuses on strengths and weakness of people in a group and includes group cohesion among family members and societal norms.
- CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND RESILIENCE-primary attempts for accounting the norms of culture, traditions, values, and ethnicity.
- GOOD GOVERNANCE-rights and freedom of people and also how every individual perceives their own duties and values in various levels of government plans.
- EDUCATION-equal significance to both formal and informal ways of acquiring information and knowledge.
- ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AND RESILIENCE- values and norms regarding the land and ecological settings of the place, including environmental perceptions and hazard and calamities.
- LIVING STANDARDS- focus upon the physical goods of people like income, housing, properties, and other individual personal material comforts.
UN WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT
The World Happiness Report is the state survey for happy people among various countries in global accounts. The latest global happiness report of 2018 mentions about 156 countries by their happiness report and among them are immigrants too, in about 117 countries. The report was launched at an event of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican on the 14th of March 2018. There exists a separate council called the Global Happiness Council (GHC) which includes papers of various experts and professionals who are actively working on the improvement of happiness and well-being of the people. The council has key practitioners in various areas like psychology, economics, urban planning, business, and civil society.
In support of World Government Summit (WGS) in accordance with the dialogue of global happiness, each member from various areas of expertise submits papers and works for the improvement of people on every one of the 9 domains of happiness. These papers help the council members actively participate and promote the values necessary for enhancing the happiness and well-being of individuals. The council differs from the Global Happiness Report in that, the report exhibits actions for measuring and explaining happiness, whereas the council aims at surveying and intervention strategies for the country’s people.
The Government of the UAE is aiming high in its happiness agenda of making their country list in the top 5 happiest nations of the world, by the end of 2021. The happiness index is the key factor regarding measurements of happiness and satisfaction, by assessing every individual’s level of living using their survey methods. The nation even has a separate Ministry for Happiness and Well-being, her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi since the year 2016. She has the main objective of harmonizing the people of her nation with programs for achieving the happiest society. At the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity review held on March 7th 2016, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum reviewed the policies of the program under the guidance of the Minister of Happiness, UAE. The programs cover various government policies and it primarily includes,
- Inclusion at all levels of work and all the bodies involved.
- Happiness and positivity promotion as a lifestyle factor.
- Developing tools and other new benchmarks for measuring happiness.
He also included a few initiatives to be taken by his leadership, in the work environment for the community like;
- Appointment of CEO’s for every happiness government body.
- Establishment of office sectors for happiness and positivity.
- Adoption of standard norms for all governing bodies with happiness as the concern.
- Allocation of workshops and programs pertaining to happiness by federal officials.
UAE is still developing its nation to make every individual inclusive and also they have a new “happiness portal” to address and welcome the notions of other foreigners who visit their country, to share their opinions and also measure happiness during their residence in Dubai.
SOUTH KOREA AND HAPPINESS
South Korea is aiming to make its entire people happier by administering happiness laws after considering all the factors from working stress to economical cues. President of Korea, Moon Jae-in stated in a conference that while the annual per capita income will be up to $30,000, what really matters to him are the people’s levels of happiness and peace. Considering this, the timing of work hours, which was earlier a problem in South Korea, has now been changed by reducing the weekly clock of work from 68 hours to 52 hours. This is not simply a justification, but is followed strictly as a law and the those not following it can be imprisoned for 2 years.
President Moon once said that, “overworking must not persist in our society”. He considered that people cannot achieve full happiness when the time for working in various organizations is long and exerting pressure upon the individual. Having so many personal and public concerns for the working hours of people, the President has given new laws and norms for reducing the gross working time. by establishing new methods like ‘automatic computer-off system’ after a certain time, and allowing people to join in evening fitness classes; instead of wasting time in front of monitor screens in the workforce after the set forth time limits.
The four major intervention strategies of South Korea with regard to happiness include,
- On-demand, age appropriate employment.
- Creative education, especially for the dreamers and the talented minds.
- National protection from disaster with a secure and sustainable environment.
- Social integration by decentralizing the powers of the state.
BHUTAN’S GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS COMMISSION
Since Bhutan’s first socioeconomic development plan in the year 1961, the nation developed a separate Planning Council under His Majesty, the Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The prime goals of the council are to make the country function well in terms of evaluation of programs and develop the best aids for many intervention strategies at the macro level.
The main goals of the GNHCS include;
- Guiding the integration of policies and plans of the GNH.
- Ensuring the effective actions for the 5 year key projects.
- Ensuring the resolution of cross-cultural issues.
- Giving proper attention to the vulnerable groups.
- National monitoring and a thorough evaluation programme.
The objectives of the GNHCS are;
- To promote the 5year key plan to all the active bodies of works.
- To co-ordinate and facilitate the actions of the GNH for effective delivery.
- To provide timely aids and also receive feedback from the concerned organizations.
- Ensuring an equitable and efficient resource allocating system.
The GNH Survey of Bhutan along with the GNH Indices are designed to guide the steps to advance the GNH across Bhutan. The report, “A Compass Towards a Just and Harmonious Society”, gives a detailed description of the results from the survey, for use by both the professional source experts and also the general public. It also emphasizes a strong guidance for planned active delivery in the public policy, by the private sector, and also inside the organizations of civil society.
Considering so many cues from international society and a special emphasis from Bhutan’s working strategies for GNH, it is essential to understand that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product of any nation and its people.