India a year unhappier

The United Nation's World Happiness report 2019 has ranked India at the 140th position from the previous 133 in 2018

anushka

Anushka Dixit | March 22, 2019 | Delhi


#GNP   #GDP   #basic needs   #policy   #government   #Happiness Index   #India   #World Happiness Report   #UN  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

India is unhappier than ever before. The United Nation's World Happiness report 2019 has ranked India at the 140th position from the previous 133 in 2018, dropping seven spots in just a year and 23 positions since 2015.

 
Out of the total 156 countries that were covered, India's happiness index has been steadily declining but remains ahead of Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Since the world happiness ranking began in 2012, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands have always found themselves at the top. India’s decline in ranking has been quite visible: from 111st (2013), 117th (2015), 118th (2016), 122nd (2017), 133rd (2018) and 140 in 2019.
 

Source: UN World Happiness Report

 
Finland topped the list as the world’s happiest country for the second consecutive year, followed by Denmark and Norway. South Sudan was at the lowest rank. The World Happiness ranking takes into account factors like GDP per capita, income, freedom, healthy life expectancy, social support, generosity and absence of corruption.
 
The report said government institutions and policies set the stages on which lives are lived. “These stages differ largely from country to country, and are among primary factors influencing how highly people rate the quality of their lives,” it added.
 
Basic needs = happiness?
 
For India, while the per capita GDP has only increased progressively over these years, but that hasn’t been enough. Public services, health, education, inequality, employment are some of the factors India has been struggling with.
 
 
A report released by Oxfam earlier this year revealed that inequality has been on the rise. The rich got richer by 39 percent while the poor only climbed the ladder by 3 percent while the poorest 10 percent of the country still remain in debt. 
 
Contribution towards public services has not been upto the mark either, the total amount contributed to public health, sanitation, and water supply by the state and central government combined stood at Rs 2,08,166 crore in 2018. 
 
India's healthcare has, for long, been under major scrutiny. According to the United Nations, India has one of the highest under-five child mortality rates in South Asia (behind Afghanistan at 91 and Pakistan at 81). In terms of numbers, India has the largest share of global under-five deaths at 1.3 million annually. About five percent of the Indian government's annual expenditure goes towards healthcare. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most of the healthcare expenditure in India - which averages $75 per capita – comes primarily from the private spending of households. 
 

Source: World Health Organisation

Education in India, although is heading in the upward direction has been slow. According to a 2013 report by Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, access to education beyond higher secondary schooling is a limited to a meager 10 percent among the university-age population in India. The discrepancy occurs across genders, socio-economic religious groups and geographical regions. Furthermore, public Indian institutions providing quality higher education are even fewer and require brutal competition among scores of candidates, affecting mental health. The situation in rural India is worse. The proportion of children (age 6-14) who are not enrolled in school fell below 3 percent for the first time and stands at 2.8 percent in 2018. 
 
Suffice to say that these criterias alone do not define a state/country's happiness. These are basic human needs. You could compare a state like UP where healthcare is still in its early stages to a state like Kerala where healthcare and quality of life is comparatively better but it is one of the top states with highest suicide rates - How do we know if people are happy? 
 
India is still struggling to fight poverty, corruption, human rights, and basic needs. Focusing on "happiness" as an end goal or formulating policies around it could be questionable. It’s important to give prominence to human development – which will ultimately create road for happiness.  
 

 

Comments

 

Other News

Mumbai civic body invites urban designers to improve five streets

To redesign and make its streets safer and inclusive in a studio project, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has invited urban designers to join hands with its engineers so as to create innovative place-making strategies for improving walkabilty and vehicular efficiency. 

Corporate taxes cut to spur economy

Aiming to dispel the clouds of a slowdown, the government on Friday announced a series of measures including corporate tax breaks to revive economic activities. The stock market, depressed for a while, welcomed the move that would cost the exchequer Rs 1,45,000 crore. Union minister for fina

E-cigarette ban welcome; now aim for more tobacco control

In what it describes as a “major health and wellness initiative for the country”, the union cabinet has approved the promulgation of an ordinance to ban electronic cigarettes. The move, coming amid a debate over the ways to control tobacco use, should be welcomed, and it needs to be complemente

Ajay Singh is president’s press secretary

Ajay Kumar Singh, who has been the editorial director of Governance Now, has been appointed the press secretary of the president of India. The decision was made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday. The appointment will be on contract

Amit Shah on India’s languages: What else he said

Home minister Amit Shah’s remark on the need for a single national language has rightly sparked a debate, but the headlines missed much in his speech about language, culture, and identity. Giving away Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar awards on the occasion of Hin

On A Personal note with musician Apache Indian

Renowned British singer, songwriter and reggae DJ, Apache Indian (originally known as Steven Kapoor) shot to fame with his style of music which came to be known as bhangramuffin (also called bhangragga) – a mix of bhangra, reggaemuffin and traditional dance hall in the early 1990s. His style changed



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter