Gross National Happiness: Its relevance and indicators

Gross National Happiness:
Its relevance for Bhutan
and its indicators
Thimphu City Corporation
15th Feb 2011
Bologna, Italy
Salient features of Bhutan
Location: between China and India
Population : 6,35,000 (2005)
Area: 39,000 Sq. km
Free Health care
Free education till graduation
Absence of caste
Presentation Outline
• Definition of GNH
• Origin of GNH as a concept
• Four pillars of GNH
• Nine Domains of GNH
• The Indicators
“Every man wants to be
happy but in order to be
so one must know what
happiness is”
GNH: What is it?
• A development model
• Considering all aspects of
• Understanding that Happiness
is the innermost desire of
every human being
Origin of GNH
• The 4th King of Bhutan (1974)
• He was then 17 years old and
• The youngest Monarch in the
Four Pillars of GNH
• Sustainable and equitable
socioeconomic development
• Environment Conservation
• Preservation and Promotion of
• Good governance
Economic Development
• GNH does not reject the conventional
economic development model
• Considers social and equitable
• Bottom - up approach in
Environment Conservation
• Forest cover is about 72%
• 29 % is protected areas (Parks and Biological
Corridors etc)
• 60 % forest cover to be maintained for all times to
come (Constitution)
• Emphasis on hydropower
• Export of ban on
Culture and tradition
• Preservation of traditional societal
• Strong extended family system
• Institutions have been established to
• both performing and non-performing
Good Governance
• Gradual democratic process was
• In 2008 government was elected by the
• Local Government Act passed for
further decentralization
• Check and balance system
• Extensive fight on corruption (ACC)
Nine Domains of GNH
Psychological Well-being
Time Use
Community Vitality
Environmental Diversity
Living Standard
General psychological distress indicator
Emotional balance indicators
Spirituality indicators
Family vitality indicator
Safety indicator
Trust indicator
Social support indicator
Socialization indicator
Indicators (Contd’)
• Dialect use indicator
• Traditional sports indicator
• Community festival indicator
• Artisan skill indicator
• Value transmission indicator
• Basic precept indicator
Indicators (Contd’)
• Health status indicator
• Health knowledge indicator
• Barrier to health indicator
• Education attainment indicator
• Ecological degradation indicator
• Ecological knowledge indicator
Indicators (Contd’)
Income indicator
Housing indicator
Food security indicator
Hardship indicator
Government performance indicator
Freedom indicator
Institutional trust indicator
Way forward
• Operationalizing the GNH
• Debate among the scholars around
the world
• International seminars are being held
• Some even propose
“Operationalizing GNH as the eight

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