Ministry for happiness to make citizens smile
India's notoriously oversized bureaucracy has found a new way to expand - a ministry of happiness, which is dedicated to "putting a smile on every face".
The ministry will be created by the central state of Madhya Pradesh to "track our growth" in a manner based on Bhutan's concept of gross national happiness.
"The state will be made responsible for happiness and tolerance of its citizens and will rope in psychologists to counsel people on how to be always happy," said Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state's chief minister.
Details of the initiative were formalised yesterday as Mr Chouhan, a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP party, travelled to New Delhi to seek permission to expand his cabinet.
The new ministry will oversee up to 70 social programmes spanning yoga, spirituality, meditation and the arts, as well as offering free religious pilgrimages for senior citizens. Mr Chouhan, a renowned yoga enthusiast, is expected to head up the new ministry personally.
Madhya Pradesh is one of India's poorest and most agrarian states, and a severe drought has left it with the country's third-highest suicide rate among farmers. At least 27 schoolchildren have committed suicide in the state this year in cases attributed to exam stress. (© Daily Telegraph London)