Mizoram, Punjab and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have emerged as the top three ranked states and Union Territories in the first ever annual India Happiness Report measuring national wellbeing and people's happiness.
The study conducted by India's leading management strategy expert Rajesh Pillania is based on a nationwide survey covering 16,950 people between March and July 2020 and tracks the impact of COVID-19 on people.
In the final happiness rankings, Mizoram, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the top three states and UTs while Odisha, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh are the bottom three.
Among the big states, Punjab, Gujarat and Telangana lead the happiness rankings while among the smaller states, Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are at the top.
The research names the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry and the Lakshadweep as the happiest Union Territories.
"Happiness is a subjective concept and the differences in rankings are due to differences in the components of happiness across the states and the UTs. This study used six components to measure happiness - work and work-related issues such as earnings and growth; relationships, including family and friends; physical and mental health; philanthropy; spiritual orientation; and the impact of COVID-19 on happiness. All these components are found to be significant in the regression analysis and explain the differences in happiness scores," Pillania, currently teaching at MDI Gurugram, told The Tribune.
He also found that India sustained well through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The spirit of India is quite resilient and the impact of COVID-19 varied across states and UTs. Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana showed the worst possible impact of COVID-19 on happiness; Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir remained neutral while Manipur, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the Lakshadweep showed the best impact of COVID-19 on happiness," said the researcher whose report includes signed articles by top happiness experts in the world.
Pillania found that while correlations between gender and happiness were not significant, marital status, education, and incomes were positively related to happiness. "Results show married people are happier than unmarried people. A long-term Harvard study that followed people through 70 years also found that those in stable relationships were happier than others. I plan to publish the India Happiness Report every year," says Pillania.
Asked what prompted his project, the academician said though the World Happiness Report Covered India, it was insufficient for a diverse country like ours.
Research makes a strong case for supporting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with measures of subjective well-being and happiness.
India's first Happiness Report's instant objective is to create more interest in the topic and long-term objective is to inform policy.