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"Gross National Happiness is far more important than Gross Domestic Product" - His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk, The Fourth Druk Gyalpo
Bhutan's national philosophy is anchored on the principle of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and was implemented by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, his Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk in 1972. It refers to a set of social and economic interventions that evaluate societal change in terms f the collective happiness of people that lead to the adoption of policies aimed at that objective.
According to GNH, true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual advancement complements or reinforces each other. in other words. It states that the mean s must always be considered in terms of the end and therefore, every step in material development and change must be measured and evaluated to ensure that it will lead to happiness, not just more development. the philosophy therefore, attempts to harmonize economic progress with the spiritual and emotional well-being of the people.
Guided by the principles of GNH, the country has made rapid development Ina. Short period of time. Most importantly, these achievements have come with very minimal impact on its culture, and environment. The government of Bhutan implemented these policies through strict adherence to the four pillars of GNH which includes equitable and sustainable socio-economic development; preservation and promotion of its culture; conservation of environment and promotion of good governance.
Equitable and Sustainable Socio-economic Development
Establishment and delivery of health, education, agriculture and other economic services are guided by the two important areas of sustainable and equitable development. Hydroelectric power, a key source of investment, has been identified as a target industry over environmentally destructive industries, such as mining or the utilization of forests.
Equity has been at the core of the Bhutan's development approach . The benefits of the development , both quantitatively and qualitatively , have been evenly distributed across all sections of the society despite of the country's difficult terrain and scattered nature of population distribution.
Preservation and Promotion of Culture
GNH recognizes that the moral and ethical framework for one's thoughts and actions are shaped by culture. This pillar aims at strengthening the institutions of family and community; the spirit of volunteerism, tolerance and cooperation; the virtues of compassion, altruism, honor and dignity, which seem to be a contributing factor to Bhutan's low crime rate.
By preserving local, regional and national festivals, the government aims to provide a forum for maintaining social networks and promoting the conviviality of public culture. Efforts had been made to prevent the possible of family disintegration, by trying to revive and nourish the traditions and practices that bond families and keep communities resilient an thriving.
Conservation of environment
The country regards nature and human as inseparable based on the Buddhist perspective. According to this belief, nature is a partner in existence; a provider of sustenance, comfort and beauty; and home to Milan's of life forms that possibly would have been one's parents, friends, siblings in the same timeless existence. Currently 72.5 percent of the country's area is forest land, 26% of the area is declared as protected areas, and the state has decreed to maintain 60 percent of its area under forest cover for all times to come. Environmental conservation remains the top priority of the country.
Intensive efforts have therefore been made to ensure good governance as it is the main source of progress and happiness. Various decentralization programmes have been introduced by the government,and the different districts were made entirely responsible for such implementation of the programmes. In 1998, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo issued a Royal Edict dissolving the long- existing Cabinet and directed the National Assembly to elect the Council of Ministers. Bhutan launched parliamentary democracy and adopted its first written Constitution in 2008.
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