Bhutan's Gross National Happiness: IT Promises To Make A Contribution
The kingdom of Bhutan is really beautiful. I had attended the NASSCOM Executive Committee meeting in Bhutan in the last week of November. To get to Thimpu, we took a short flight on a Druk Air from Kolkata to Paro. Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, is about an hour drive from Paro. We were in Bhutan less than a month after the coronation of the new king, the 5th King of the Druk dynasty – His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. Thimpu was all decked up and in a festive mood – the roads were beautiful and the streets were decorated with banners announcing the new order.
Bhutan has a new democracy and the elected Prime Minister – His Excellency Mr. Jigme Thinley hosted a dinner for the delegation. The newly constructed banquet hall built in traditional style was impressive. The Prime Minister spent considerable time explaining the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) which is the priority for the Bhutanese Government.
The four pillars of GNH are:
- Equitable and equal socio-economic development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
- Conservation of environment
- Good governance
Looks like the IT sector can soon be a key contributer to Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness. Bhutan is setting up an IT park with World Bank support and is keen to invite the IT industry to setup IT / ITES based industries. Setting up secure data centers in the Himalayan kingdom are also attractive options. They have excess power generated through natural hydro-electric dams, good climate and a stable political environment.
I was quite impressed to see the harmony and balance of the traditional culture and modern day Bhutan.