Haryana: The policies and programs of national development in India largely focus on infrastructure and economic development and rightly so as infrastructure development creates visibility of development to public eyes and the economic growth creates a winning ground for the Nation in the global arena. But then, when it comes to the impact of economic development on the wellbeing and happiness of the people, economic development and infrastructure alone do not measure to the level of happiness nor the wellbeing of the vast community.
India’s Impressive Economic Growth
Undoubtedly, India has done very well on economic front. It’s nearly 3 trillion- US dollar economy stands at number six in the world economies in the size of GDP and at number three on the GDP at purchase power parity. But then when it comes to happiness, India stands at 136 out of 146 countries, almost amongst the bottom 10 nations in the World Happiness Report-2022, recently published by Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a Global Initiative for the United Nations. The report measures the advancement each nation makes towards implementing the UN Resolution on “Happiness: Towards a Holistic Approach to Development,” that was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19th July 2011. The UN resolution was primarily aimed at inviting national governments to “give more importance to happiness and well-being in determining how to achieve and measure social and economic development”.
What Makes a Country Happy?
This is where one needs to pause and ponder on what it makes to be a happy country. Finland and Denmark are at the top of the list of the happiest countries in the world and so are most European countries. The reason is simple as the governments in the happiest countries care for its people and their wellbeing. For instance, Finland and Denmark are among the countries in the world where no tuition fee is charged for the quality education from the primary to the university levels, no matter what the discipline is. What more even the international students do not have to pay for quality education they receive in these countries. The same is the case for the Healthcare. Further, the efficacy of the civic services and the layers of internal security and safety leave no room for one to be unhappy or dissatisfied.
It needs to be acknowledged by those in power and by the architects of policy planning and those charting the strategies for growth and development that National Development is not just the GDP’. Likewise, the good governance is all about people and not just about the infrastructure and economic growth. Ultimately, for the people, it is the efficacy of the civic services, internal security, and safety and a corruption fee governance that matters.
Government for the People and Not Just by the People
Compared to the happiest countries of the world, when we look at India, we find that quality education right from primary to the university levels is at a high premium and a lot is desired in respect of the efficacy of the civic services. The governance is still far away from being the “government for the people” as is expected to be in a well-functioning democracy. When Abraham Lincoln spoke about democracy in 1863, it was assumed that the government by and of the people will work as the ‘government for the people’. But, in reality those elected by the people are often seen not as the representatives of the people and crusaders of their aspirations rather, they tend to think that they are here to rule and not to serve the people that elected them in a democracy. It is this malice of the democratic governments that was labeled as ‘Elective Dictatorship’ by Lord Hailsham long ago in his maiden address delivered on the BBC as the Richard Dimbleby memorial lecture in 1976 during the time when one of the authors of this article, was in the UK. Much of the unhappiness besides the efficacy of civic services is related to this alienation of the elected representatives from the privilege to serve their people.
The Respect for the Law
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