First-ever annual ‘India Happiness Report’ released; Mizoram, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar Islands top index
The study covered 16,950 people across all thirty-six states and union territories of India during March-July 2020
The first-ever annual ‘India Happiness Report’, which is India specific and studies happiness in the thirty-six states and union territories of India, has been released.
In the happiness rankings of states and union territories, Mizoram, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the top three. Among the big states, Punjab, Gujarat, and Telangana are among the top three states whereas, among smaller states, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh are the top three states in happiness rankings. Among union territories, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, and Lakshadweep are the top three union territories in happiness rankings.
The author of the report is Dr Rajesh K Pillania, Professor of Strategy an Area Chairperson-Strategic Management at Gurgaon-based Management Development Institute.
This study uses six components namely, work and related issues such as earning and growth; relationships including family and friends; health including physical and mental; philanthropy including social concerns; religious or/and spiritual orientation; and the impact of COVID-19 on happiness. All these components are found to be significant in the regression analysis and explain the differences in happiness scores. The scores of these six components vary across the states and union territories.
This study covered 16,950 people across all thirty-six states and union territories of India during March – July 2020.
“The spirit of India is quite resilient and the impact of COVID-19 varies across states and union territories. It varies from the worst possible to the best possible among individuals in the study. Maharashtra, Delhi, and Haryana have shown the worst possible impact of COVID-19 on happiness, whereas Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir are neutral and Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep have shown the best possible impact of COVID-19 on happiness,” says the report.
“The results show the correlation between gender and happiness is not significant, whereas marital status, age group, education, and income level are overall positively related to happiness. The results show married people are happier than unmarried people. People are optimistic about the future and generally scored more on happiness after five years compared to scores today. In the future happiness rankings after five years, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Gujarat are the top three,” it added.
“The three key takeaways for governments, organisations, and individuals are, first, different states and union territories are at different levels of happiness rankings. There is a pressing need for more discussion, focus, and the application of happiness in the Indian context. Second, knowing is not enough, happiness needs to be practised. Third, choose and put into practice all or some or at least one of the insights from this report,” the report says.
“The short-term objective is to create more interest in the topic of happiness and to create more awareness and discussion. The long term objective is that these reports can give inputs into policy-making and strategies for organisations and governments for creating a happier India, aspiring for the better well-being of its citizens,” it adds.
Need for happiness reports
“Traditionally countries measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and states within countries also measure GDP. Though GDP has its merits, social scientists have questioned its adequacy for not being a measure of real development and happiness (UN, 2012). It needs to be supported with some other measures such as subjective well-being,” the report says.
“The phrase ‘gross national happiness’ was first coined by the 4th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972 when he declared, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product” (Ura, 2020). Bhutan was the first country in the world to start measuring Gross National Happiness,” it adds.
“In July 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 65/309 Happiness: Towards a Holistic Definition of Development inviting member countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use the data to help guide public policy,” it says.
“Happiness is a subjective concept and the differences in rankings are due to a number of factors including differences in the components of happiness across states and union territories. As the annual India Happiness Reports and the people involved in bringing out the reports progress on the learning curve, the focus will be to keep learning, keep minimising shortcomings and keep improving the annual reports. This looks to be an exciting but challenging journey ahead,” it adds.
The report contains insights from various thought leaders on happiness including historian and biographer Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a leading global scholar in occupational health and wellness research; Dr. Ashley Whillans, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School; Dr. Emma Seppälä, Science Director, Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education; Jennifer Moss, CBC Columnist, and UN Happiness Council Member; Dr. Dasho Karma Ura, Head, Centre for Bhutan and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Studies; Dr. T.V. Rao, Chairman TVRLS and often referred to as the ‘One of the Fathers of Human Resource Development (HRD)’ in India; Devdutt Pattanaik, a popular writer; and Dr. Rajendra Singh, popularly known as ‘Jal Purush, Waterman of India’.