D-Sector for Development Community

   Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Agriculture - Duties and Rights - Education - Environment - Food - Global - Governance - Health - Indian Economy - Indian Society - Physical Development - Social Welfare - Water and Sanitation
Print | Back
Bhutan aims for National Happiness, not skewed growth


Treading a different path from the economic growth based development model, Bhutan has designed its own theory and practice of socioeconomic development focused on "Gross National Happiness."

The country, also known as Land of the Thunder Dragon, has been trying out the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) since it was espoused by its former king former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1970s.

The genesis of this concept goes to back to early 70s when this tiny and impoverished nation realised that in the pursuit of economic prosperity, many countries had lost their cultural identities, their spirituality, and compromised their environment.

Wary of the burst of consumer-driven economic growth which resulted in wide-spread spiritual poverty in other nations, the Bhutanese government was convinced that economic growth alone did not bring contentment.

However, Bhutan had to find an alternative approach to development which could monitor and regulate the nature and pace of change without compromising the essence of its citizens' well-being. Thus, the concept of GNH evolved from the constituent features of Bhutanese society before 1959, a socio-economic system based on a Buddhist and feudal set of values.

The principle of GNH stresses the need of striking a balance between material and non-material needs of individuals and society. Unlike other countries which are obsessed with increasing their Gross Domestic Product, Bhutan gives equal importance to nurturing and supporting spiritual growth and social needs of the community.

In 1998, Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley identified the "Four Pillars" of GNH, which today form the overall guiding principle for development in Bhutan.

The first pillar is sustainable and equitable socio-economic development which highlights the need to improve physical, intellectual, social and economic health.

Conservation of the environment is the second pillar of GNH. It is commonly believed that irresponsible activities in nature will lead to negative and therefore unhappy outcomes. Most Bhutanese accept the fact that the environment should be preserved for the future generations.

The Bhutanese government views promotion of culture, the GNH’s third pillar, as a crucial strategy to preserve the country's sovereignty. It has implemented policies that conserve and promote Bhutanese religion, language and literature, art and architecture, performing arts, national dress, traditional etiquette, sports and recreation.

Last but not the least is good governance. The Bhutanese believe that good governance is vital for the happiness of the people. Towards this end, a constitution was drafted and Bhutan is become a constitutional monarchy in 2008.

Some experts deem the concept of GNH as idealistic in nature which has nothing to do with the process of development. Others view this merely as a conventional development process.

Critics allege that because GNH depends on a series of subjective judgments about well-being, governments may be able to define GNH in a way that suits their interests. In the case of Bhutan, for instance, they say that the government expelled about one hundred thousand people and stripped them of their Bhutanese citizenship on the grounds that the deportees were ethnic Nepalese who had settled in the country illegally, though Bhutan's policies in this regard have no direct or obvious relevance to its use of GNH as an indicator guiding policy.

Other countries, notably Brazil, Italy, and parts of Canada, are exploring use of measurements derived from Bhutan's GNH as their primary indicator of well-being. Critics say that inter-national comparison of well-being will be difficult on this model; proponents maintain that each country can define its own measure of GNH as it chooses, and that comparisons over time between nations will have validity.

Write to d-sector  |  Editor's Note

 Other Articles by d-sector Team in
Features  > Country Focus

Women pay the price of war in Iraq
Friday, September 09, 2011

Ethiopia moves ahead, despite problems
Monday, July 25, 2011

Kenya: Tourism good but not enough
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CONGO: where rape has become a weapon of war
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

  1  2  3     
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
Member Login
- New Member
- Forgot Password

WoW Gold,Buy WoW Gold,Website Design,Web Design,Health Tips,Health Guides,NFL News,NFL Jerseys,Fashion Design,Home Design,Replica Handbags,Replica Bags,Jewelry Stores,Wedding Jewelry,WOW Gold,Cheap WoW Gold,Wedding Dresses,Evening Dresses,MMORPG Guides,MMORPG Tips,Fashion Jewelry,Fashion Crystal,Sexy Lingerie,Best Sexy Lingerie,Fashion Clothing,Fashion Shoes,Travel News,Travel Guides,Education News,Education Tips