After setting up an Anand Vibhag (happiness department) in 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government is working on measuring the ‘happiness index’ with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, during the recent session of the MP assembly, confirmed the development in response to a query from MLA Mahesh Parmar.
Chouhan said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was inked with IIT Kharagpur in 2017. After an advance payment of Rs 20 lakh, the department of happiness is to pay a sum of Rs 43.60 lakh to the premier institution, added Chouhan in the reply.
Amid the pandemic, the work on the index came to a halt and is expected to start soon.
HOW THEY WILL DO IT
Happiness will be mapped through surveys on personal wellbeing, relationships, faith on others, attitude, ratings for government and administration, environmental standards, health status, education, income, safety and security, transportation, social and cultural life, satisfaction, gender equality, among others.
According to Chouhan’s reply, the index will have “global acceptability”, as it will follow detailed reviews and large data and also offer recommendations “which are not infrastructure or capital intensive”.
It will take into account experts’ reviews as well as consider ground realities through interactions, workshops, surveys, interviews with key informants and stakeholders.
Among other things, the department has been observing happiness camps, clubs, festivals, meetings and symposiums. An initiative, ‘Neki Ki Diwar’, was started in 2016, where locals were encouraged to hang on public walls old household items for those in need.
With the help of our own groups of volunteers, we are planning to start the surveys for the index by April, Indra Pal Singh, director at Rajya Anand Sansthan Bhopal, told News18.com.
“We run our activities through our volunteers who are given training in the state and also in Panchgani Maharashtra,” said Singh. “The index will try mapping the real meaning of happiness for different sections of society and will study human feelings like affection, faith, relations, gratitude and others.”
Singh said the department of happiness was the first such initiative by any state in the country. “Our questionnaire is ready and we are planning to start our surveys and interviews in the state in April as Covid-19 has ebbed,” said Singh.
The index will include people in the 18-70 age group, with emphasis on youths and middle-aged citizens, said an officer.
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