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Bhutan: Pursuit of happiness

By Aditya Batra

, by Down to earth

Karma Tshiteem is the secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission, the novel name of Bhutan’s Planning Commission. He tells Aditya Batra how the concept has fared in the new democracy:

"There can be elements of subjectivity in the GNH Policy Screening Tool. We are taking 26 variables from the 72 variables that we have on the GNH index. The purpose of this screening is to ensure that when we make policies GNH related aspects are included. The idea is to enrich the debate and discussions that underpin policies. Otherwise conventional policy making frameworks will only look at parameters like economy, health, education, living standards, and to some degree, environment. One has to see a policy’s impact on community vitality, cultural diversity, psychological well being and time use.

[...] The tool is used to ensure that policies are consistent with this philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which in very simple terms, means development meets the aspirations of the Bhutanese people, and what they want from life, and that what government does in the name of development, and what Bhutanese want from life must mean the same thing."

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