In 1971, when His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in an interview with the Financial Times, declared that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product,” the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan became a model nation that prioritized its citizen’s wellbeing over economic pursuit. 
Gross National Happiness is Bhutan’s guiding development philosophy and the index was formally adopted as a development indicator in the constitution. Article 9 of the Constitution of Bhutan states, “the State shall strive to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness.
Broadly, the concept of GNH posits creating enabling conditions where people can pursue happiness. The four pillars of GNH are: sustainable economic development, preservation of culture, conservation of the environment and good governance.
Government policies, plans and programs go through a series of GNH tests to ensure they bring about positive impacts in the lives of the people before being implemented on the ground. The government has to ensure laws and policies are in line with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness.
After Bhutan transitioned into a constitutional monarchy in 2008, the concept of GNH or the state providing happiness to the people has become the main priority for any elected government.
Today, the philosophy of Gross National Happiness has come to be understood as a holistic approach in recognising the citizen’s spiritual, material, physical and social needs, emphasising on balanced development and progress.

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