State Happy Index: Stress to‘over represent’ disadvantaged

Once the questionnaire is prepared, 20,000 volunteers will fan out in all the 51 district of the state and ask the questions to a cross-section of society that is truly representational.

bhopal Updated: Feb 23, 2018 20:50 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra, Hindustan Times
Madhya Pradesh,Bhopal,Happiness department
(Getty Images)

Tribals, minorities and other socially disadvantaged groups are going to be ‘over represented’ when it comes to choosing respondents to the questions for the happiness index; and to catch the ethos of the state, the questions should be more local than global.

These were the two major takeaways of the two-day brain-storming session that took place in the city, in which 80 ‘happiness’ experts from all over the world were sharing their expertise with the IIT Kharagpur team, that is preparing the questions.

Madhya Pradesh aims to be the first state in the country to float a happiness index in 2018, which will be based on a questionnaire that will help the government gauge the happiness quotient of people. A department of happiness was set up after the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced creation of the happiness department during a state executive meet of the BJP in Bhopal on April 1, 2016.

Manohar Dubey, chief executive officer of the state happiness department (Rajya Anand Sansthan) said over-representing the disadvantaged was one of key suggestions because it has been seen that in most surveys they are not included and we want the respondents to be truly representational.

Dubey said once the questionnaire is prepared, 20,000 volunteers will fan out in all the 51 district of the state and ask the questions to a cross-section of society that is truly representational.

“It is a challenging task and we are hopeful that we will have a happiness index and we will come to know by year end how happy\sad the people of the state are, and devise ways to improve it,” Dubey said.

He also pointed out that when the global level survey is done to determine happiness, only 1000 respondents are taken from India. “Our scale is enormous given that we are doing it for only one state having population of seven crore.”

Radhika Punshi, managing director of Talent Enterprise, a Dubai based consultancy firm that has worked on ‘Happiness’ and was one of the participants, said discussions were held on 14 domains like Family, Security, Transport, Environment, etc and 30 sub-domains taking into account how the world was measuring happiness. “It is not certain how many domains the questions will cover, as everything is still in a state of flux.”

Raj Raghunathan, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and author of the book “If you’re so smart why aren’t you happy?, said studies have shown that it is not only money that determined happiness and the GDP driven mindset of world country had made us more self-centered, and less empathetic towards others. “I feel that things are progressing in the right direction in preparing the happiness index.”

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 20:50 IST