GDP and Gross National Happiness: Prof M S Swaminathan
December 02, 2017: Economic media are happy that this years’ Q2 GDP went up to 6.3 percent. At the same time, they report that hunger and communicable diseases are increasing in our country. Therefore, there cannot be much jubilation on the rise of GDP since obviously our progress in GDP is not being reflected in indicators like Global Hunger Index, Gender Equity Index, Human Development Index, etc. It is in this context that the former King of Bhutan developed an idea of substituting Gross National Happiness in the place of GDP by measuring the progress in improving the quality of life of people. GDP alone will be misleading without associated indicators determining the quality of life of the people. In particular the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition and high infant and maternal mortality rate and allied indicators are equally important. In my view, the idea proposed by His Majesty the King of Bhutan needs to be adapted to the conditions in every country, so that we do not measure our achievement only by GDP which leads to situations like coexistence of Grain Mountains and hungry millions.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.