War torn Ukraine has been ranked 92ndin the World Happiness Index 2023–several notches higher than India, which has been placed at 125. If it was business as usual, the rankings would not have attracted much curiosity. Many Indians are finding it difficult to fathom how Ukraine, ravaged by war, pushing its citizens into fleeing, can be placed above India.
India’s ranking is also lower than its neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and Nepal. In short, India is among the unhappiest countries in the world. Afghanistan with a score of 137 is at the bottom of the chart.
The Happiness Index, first released in 2012 is based on factors such as social support, health, income, freedom, generosity, corruption.
While Sri Lanka that ranked 112, defaulted last year, Pakistan with a rank of 108 is inching towards a default. Citizens are desperately looking at relocating to other countries due to shortage of food and other essential items. Last year’s floods have only deepened the crisis.
Several reports have suggested that India’s social benefit schemes have reached the targeted audience even during the Covid pandemic helping them in tiding over the unprecedented crisis.
That apart, ease of living in the rural areas has improved as well. For example, out of 19.35 crore rural households in 2019, only 3.23 crore or 16.72 per cent had access to tap water. Today over 11 crore households have access to tap water. Similarly, 97 per cent of the households in the country have electricity connections. With increasing income levels, aspirations are also rising among the people.
“India is rapidly changing. Several social schemes have been launched and these are designed to make life simpler..the schemes are working. India certainly cannot be unhappier than Pakistan or Sri Lanka.
The United Nations General Assembly marked 20 March as the International Day of Happiness. Since then, more and more people have come to believe that the success of countries should be judged by the happiness of their people, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative of the United Nations, said, adding that there is a growing consensus about how happiness should be measured.
But the moot question is: Can this international ranking be taken seriously?
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