The Andhra Pradesh government has just added a new criterion for measuring its development – the happiness of its citizens.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced on Monday that his government has started a Happiness Index (HI) department – on the lines of Bhutan's gross domestic happiness index– which he will lead himself.
Andhra is the second state in the country, after Madhya Pradesh, to set up a happiness department.
The government's "Sunrise AP Vision 2029" envisions the transformation of the state into "a happy, inclusive, responsible, & globally competitve society".
The Times of India reported that the state took inspiration from Bhutan which focuses on the overall well-being of its citizens, including psychological well-being, ecological diversity, cultural diversity and education.
Naidu's focus on happiness
According to TOI, Naidu has often been quoted as saying that, "No government can be rated as successful or achieve desired results unless happiness prevails in society. We have to work towards achieving the dream goal of making AP a happy state."
Last year, Naidu told ministers and heads of departments at a meeting that the happiness of the people had to be included in the overall growth of the state.
"Besides numbers and percentages, I want you to translate the entire growth into happiness among the people. You should closely track whether achievements are reaching the bottom of the society," he said.
Following in Madhya Pradesh's footsteps
Last year in July, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched a happiness department in the state which, he said, will work to ensure "happiness in the lives of the common people".
"Besides the basic necessities of Roti, Kapda aur Makaan (food, cloth and shelter) people need something more to be happy in their lives. Normally, happiness is measured with economic growth rate which is not entirely correct as our country for ages believed otherwise. There is something more which can bring happiness in the lives of people," Chouhan told PTI.