India can learn from Bhutan happiness index, says PM


India can take a leaf out of Bhutan's experience in measuring national welfare through the unique Gross National Happiness index, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday.

"The power of this idea (GNH) today finds increasing acceptance and I believe that we have a lot to learn from it," Singh said, while welcoming Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley, who delivered the fourth Prof. Hiren Mukerjee Memorial Annual Parliamentary Lecture on "Gross National Happiness: A Holistic Paradigm for Sustainable Development".

"Though the concept was first articulated in 1972 by His Majesty the Fourth King but Thinley has given practical meaning to it in the functioning of his government and restructuring of Bhutan's society," Singh said.

In his address, Thinley made a strong pitch for India to take the lead in global sustainable well-being that is measured more by happiness of the people than by growing GDP figures.

On leadership position in future global strategy for sustainable development against climate change, he said India can help bring about a "more responsible international response" to the threats of an ecological catastrophe.

The lecture was peppered with Bhutan's success story on measuring the happiness of its people. "Fifty two per cent of Bhutan citizens are happy while 45 per cent are very happy. Only 3 per cent are not very happy," he said.

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