‘Unhappy’ Odisha Laughs Off India Happiness Report

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s poor performance in the first-ever India Happiness Report 2020 has triggered a flood of memes by Odia netizens as well as scrutiny on the survey.

Here are some of the memes being forwarded on WhatsApp:

More so, the six parameters of happiness in the report — work, relationships, health, philanthropy, religious and spiritual orientation, and impact of COVID-19 — have raised many eyebrows.

“Surely this survey projects intra-correlation between some independent variables, else it could have shown some drastic results. I don’t think it is a healthy conclusion,” said Punyasloka Panda, founder of Blueyard Education and Lead Coordinator of Youth For Sustainability.

The small sample size of the survey — 16,950 participants from across the country — has also raised a question on the credibility of the research.

“While a whopping 50 per cent of India’s population is young, the report’s sample size considers only a few thousand across the country,” Panda added.

This apart, two age groups — millennials and 42-55 years — weren’t quite convincible with the following parameters:

  • Religious and spiritual orientation: Odisha is one of the most peaceful states in terms of religion as it has not faced any upsetting religious encounters over a couple of decades. Religion being an individual’s pursuit of devotion can represent neither the Happiness Index nor the state as a whole, they argued.
  • Relationships, according to millennials, are personal agenda. Hence, “Married People Happier Than Singles” is self-perplexing, especially considering a diversified family culture within the state.
  • Impact of COVID-19: With every organ (individual state/UT) reporting COVID-19 infected cases, and a vaccinal solution not in immediate sight, it is unfortunately still a trauma. So, with the whole body (nation) suffering from this trauma, dividing its organs (States/UTs) into indexes of happiness, the Odia nervous system (people) didn’t get well convinced.
  • Work: They cited CMIE report where Odisha has managed to bridge the gap in unemployment from 23.8 per cent in April 2020 to 1.4 per cent in August 2020 and the average from January to April 2020 was 7.1 per cent.

However, conversants also pointed out the need for remodelling the current work culture for a happier environment.

They also agreed to Odisha’s depiction with regards to Health and Philanthropy.

  • Health: The poor performance of the health sector in Odisha from 2015 to 2018 has left the natives concerned over the 19th rank indexed by Niti Aayog. Conversants attributed this to the deterioration of performances in medical management and wellness programmes.
  • Philanthropy: Odisha’s decline in the estimated allocations of philanthropy and CSR from the fifth rank as a front-runner over 2013-2017 to stand being just a performer over 2019-20, has affected particular sectors adding to their disappointment.

“Considering the societal norms in a state like Odisha, I believe we would further descend down the list. We need not be embarrassed. This is how we have built our systems with idiosyncrasies. Hence, this result is not a cultural shock,” Panda suggested.

Some of our middle-age respondents also stressed on upliftment of the records with the alignment of ground realities.

They unanimously suggested to include parameters like education, sustainable development and conservation of the natural environment with an encompassed dataset to justify the survey.

The factful conversants believe in Odisha moving up the list, given the surveyor, Professor Rajesh K Pillania’s parameters.

Also Read: Odisha Among 3 States At Bottom Of India Happiness Report 2020; Married People Happier Than Singles

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