Kolkata– Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said lack of holistic approach and narrow-vision focus on economic development is pushing India downwards in the World Happiness Index in spite of its steady economic progress.

Hailing India for becoming the sixth largest economy in the world, Mukherjee said the country should strive for “sustainable development” by focusing on the concept of “Triple bottom line”.

“Despite our country’s economic progress, India is constantly going downwards in the happiness index. It has dropped down to 133rd place in 2018. This indicates a lack of holistic approach towards development.

“The quest of happiness is closely tied to the quest for sustainable development which is a combination of social inclusion and environmental sustainability,” Mukherjee said while speaking at a seminar on People, Planet and Profit organised by the Indian Chamber Of Commerce.

“A narrow vision focus on economic development may have given us a better GDP and increase in per capita income but moved our focus from environmental sustainability, social welfare, emotional and mental wellbeing of our people. These are the primary reasons of our ranking in the world happiness index year after year.”

The veteran politician said in scenarios as this the concept of ‘triple bottom line’ – an accounting framework that puts equal focus on social, environmental and financial development – becomes important.

Mukherjee pointed out while India has managed to bypass France with substantial figures in terms of its value of economy, it must be remembered that the current progress was not achieved in the last couple of years.

He said the country has shown steady improvement in GDP, national per capita income, life expectancy, literacy and food production while managing to bring down the poverty ratio significantly over the past 70 years.

“The recent World Bank report has placed India above France in terms of the value of economy in US dollar terms. But obviously it did not happen in the last couple of years or even in a couple of decades. IT has happened over seven decades,” he added. (IANS)