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Happiness – UPSC Ethics

In your opinion, what is the source of happiness? Why do some people manage to stay happy despite facing certain difficulties in life? Discuss. (200 Words)

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Happiness – UPSC Ethics

Two senses of happiness.

Defining happiness is a complex task as the question itself is ambiguous. Are we seeking a linguistic understanding of the word ‘happiness’ or exploring the concept? Without clarifying the context, it becomes difficult to provide a precise answer. If we delve deeper, we might inquire if happiness is synonymous with pleasure, a state of material abundance, or something entirely different. However, it remains challenging to provide a definitive response until we establish a shared understanding of the term.

A state of mind

A life that goes well for the person leading it, why finland and denmark are happier than the u.s..

Strong social support systems: Finland and Denmark have well-developed social support networks that foster a sense of community and belonging, contributing to overall happiness.

Low income inequality: These countries exhibit relatively low levels of income inequality, which reduces social disparities and creates a greater sense of fairness and well-being among citizens.

High levels of social trust: Trust among individuals and trust in institutions are significantly higher in Finland and Denmark compared to the United States. This trust creates a more positive societal environment.

Emphasis on work-life balance: Finnish and Danish cultures prioritize work-life balance, with shorter working hours, flexible work arrangements, and generous parental leave policies. This focus on personal time and family contributes to higher life satisfaction.

Accessible education and healthcare: Both countries offer accessible and high-quality education and healthcare systems, ensuring that citizens have equal opportunities for personal development and well-being.

Strong welfare policies: Finland and Denmark have comprehensive welfare systems that provide support in areas such as unemployment benefits, healthcare, and affordable housing. These policies help alleviate economic and social stress, contributing to happiness.

Connection with nature and outdoor activities: The appreciation for nature and the availability of outdoor recreational activities in Finland and Denmark promote physical and mental well-being.

When we approach the concept of happiness from a psychological perspective, our primary focus is on understanding specific mental states. Just like the study of pleasure or depression revolves around psychology, exploring happiness in this context, known as the “psychological sense,” involves examining specific states of the mind. So, what exactly is this mental state referred to as happiness? Common responses to this question include life satisfaction, experiencing pleasure, or having a general sense of contentment and a positive emotional condition.

In the second scenario, we delve into the notion of happiness concerning well-being and flourishing, centering on what enhances a person’s life, aligns with their interests, and improves their overall situation. This exploration involves evaluating one’s state of thriving, good fortune, or positive circumstances while differentiating between what is universally good and what specifically benefits an individual.

Theories of happiness

The chief candidates.

There are two well-known perspectives on happiness – hedonism and the life satisfaction theory. Hedonists link happiness to the equilibrium between pleasant and unpleasant experiences, akin to welfare hedonists. However, hedonism does not inherently support the more robust concept of welfare hedonism, as evidenced in criticisms of Utilitarianism’s sole emphasis on happiness as the primary goal of social decision-making. These critiques acknowledge happiness as a pleasure but challenge its exclusivity, stressing that well-being encompasses more than just happiness.

Life satisfaction versus affect-based accounts

Life satisfaction views have faced various objections; the most common one is already known. It revolves around the idea that someone might appear content with their life even if they lead an unpleasant or emotionally distressed existence. Some find it counterintuitive to consider such individuals as happy. Certain life satisfaction theorists reject the possibility of such cases (Benditt, 1978), while others argue that these possibilities contribute to the appeal of life satisfaction theory. According to this perspective, some people may not derive much pleasure from life because they prioritize other aspects over emotional experiences, and a life satisfaction theory accommodates the idea that they can still find happiness in their way.

Hedonism versus emotional state

Why should we bother making such a distinction when describing happiness? For many individuals, the difference between happiness as an emotional state and a hedonistic view might be small. However, exploring this distinction could bring about valuable insights. One potential benefit is that the “central” emotional conditions related to happiness may uniquely connect to the individual or the self. At the same time, the “peripheral” effects, such as the pleasure of eating a cracker, might relate more to the sub-personal aspects of our psychological experiences.

Can happiness be measured?

It is important to note that measures of happiness can provide insights into relative happiness levels among different groups of people. However, they may not accurately reflect absolute levels of happiness. Self-reports of happiness can correctly indicate that unemployed individuals are generally less happy than those with jobs. However, these reports could still be inaccurate if everyone is unhappy but claims to be happy, or vice versa, as long as the unemployed consistently report lower happiness than the employed. This is similar to how faulty thermometers can indicate that Minnesota is colder than Florida without providing the correct temperature.

 The politics of happiness

A decade ago, happiness policy was new, but now there is a global interest in promoting happiness and well-being through policy. Governments are incorporating well-being metrics in national statistics.

The rationale for well-being policies is based on the idea that people may make mistakes in pursuing their interests, and government intervention can correct these errors.

Contextualism suggests that people fare better when their social and physical environment influences their choices.

Moral concerns about the state’s promotion of happiness include paternalism and personal liberty. Critics argue that policies should focus on promoting resources or capabilities instead of happiness and that happiness may not align with theories of justice.

Happiness policy challenges the emphasis on economic growth as a measure of progress. Philosophical engagement with this topic is ongoing.

UPSC Mains question of Ethics GS 4

Q. All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples. 150 words. 10 marks (UPSC Ethics QP – 2014 )

HINT :- The statement that “happiness is helping others without expecting anything in return” holds great value both in one’s personal life and in the realm of public service.

To gain a better understanding of the concept, read the following one-page short story written by a retired IAS officer. It encapsulates the essence of what it truly means.

Let’s answer this mains question

All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with answers. (150 Words) (10 M) 2014 UPSC Mains Ethics Paper.

Try to answer this on behalf of above given information .


Related articles, conflict of interest, personal ethics, difference between professional ethics and personal ethics, professional ethics.

A Ministry of Happiness

Context: A paradigm shift and an effective mechanism are needed to deliver the skill of happiness.

International Efforts:

  • World Happiness Report 2020
  • Criteria: Income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity.
  • Ranking: It ranked 156 countries.
  • Finland topped the list, despite not having the highest GDP, while materially superior countries are ranked lower.
  • Social safety, personal freedom, and a work-life balance were the responsible factors, leading to happiness.
  • Implication: Growth in happiness is not always accompanied by growth in economic prosperity. 
  • Easterlin paradox : Observed by Richard Easterlin in post-World War USA, this paradox showed a decline in happiness at a very high level of economic growth. 
  • Reason: Skewed distribution of income and wealth, resulting in growing economic inequality accompanying economic growth. 
  • If people are covered by a social safety net, they have little to worry about healthcare, education, unemployment, or old-age pension. 
  • Gross National Happiness: coined in 1979 by Bhutan and was determined by nine domains and four pillars. 
  • International Day of Happiness : observed on March 20, as the United Nations in 2011 recognized the achievement of happiness as a fundamental human goal . 
  • India, Canada, Brazil, the US, UK, UAE, the Philippines, and Thailand have undertaken efforts to measure and increase happiness and well-being beyond GDP. 

Efforts to ensure happiness:

  • The Way to Happiness Foundation International conducts workshops across schools and the Delhi Police .
  • Happiness classes: included in Delhi schools based on the triad for happiness. 
  • Certificate course in Happiness Counselling : introduced by Gujarat University through meditation, yoga, neurology, social activities, music, food, and dance.
  • Madhya Pradesh’s Happiness department: organises Happiness Camps to teach a positive outlook towards life.
  • Happiness Index department of Andhra Prades: to measure development in the state. 

Way Forward:

  • A scheme that allows volunteers to serve old or ailing people can be framed.
  • Their service hours there can get deposited in a social service bank account .
  • In return, the volunteers can assure old-age care for themselves by claiming the same number of service hours in their old age.
  • Media, movies, and market can create awareness about safety and dignity of women, for social harmony.
  • For the safety of life, traffic and cleanliness, all stray animals need to be looked after by animal-loving people and organisations. 
  • Speedy delivery of justice: for enduring mental peace, litigation needs to be minimised by minimising laws, that too codified in simple language.
  • NGOs must work in tandem with the government : to achieve plan objectives in areas like education, skill centers, hospitals, helping orphans/unemployed/old people, protecting women and the environment. 
  • This will contain their growth in an unorganised manner, thereby complementing the government’s efforts to achieve Plan objectives through better utilisation of voluntary funds. 
  • A Ministry of Happiness is needed with academicians, economists, psychologists and social thinkers, to map the road to happiness forever.

Conclusion: The quest of humanity for another habitable planet must begin with making our own planet happy and liveable.


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Editorial – Society Watch – Happiness – All that is there to it !!!

Note:- UPSC has asked an essay a while back on Gross Happiness Index and since then it has been more or less became a theme and was asked in the exams repeatedly. For example – In one of its ethics papers UPSC had asked “What happiness means according to you ? .Moreover , writing an answer to ethics paper or economic question or an essay on India , this piece of editorial can be a real value add. It is an excerpt from the speech of the President of India addressing the civil service trainees. Time and again , we could not emphasize more about the importance of speeches of great leaders, because they have to say the most relevant things in least amount of time.What is important is the particular statements and if you remember and reproduce them in your answers, it will take your answers to the next-level. So use them wisely.

We are today the fastest growing amongst the major economies of the world. We are the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower , the third military power, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the sixth in the race for space and the tenth industrial power.

In stark contradiction, on the ranking of happiness as reported in the World Happiness Report 2015, we are at the 117 th position out of the 158 countries mapped . This is even more surprising when we look at our civilizational legacy. We are a nation of festivals. Celebration of life is a part of our nature. The concepts of bahujan sukhai bahujan hitai and sarve bhavantu sukhinah have been as old as our civilization. Our prayers are not complete unless we pray for peace, or “ shanti” of universe, earth, trees, forests and all others, both living and non-living. Sages taught us time and again that material gain alone cannot fulfil all our needs. Our search for peace, happiness and well-being extends much beyond.

Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life. Ever since the Prime Minister of Bhutan brought up a resolution in the UN General Assembly in 2011, inviting member nations to measure happiness of their people and to use it to guide public policies, the subject has deeply engaged the minds of policymakers. Today, large numbers of countries are looking at happiness and well-being as the touchstones of public policy.

Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations. They pursue their life goals, which they perceive will bring them fame, success and happiness, with single-minded devotion. They consider happiness as their existential objective, which of course is understandable. They search for “ affective happiness” in the highs and lows of day-to-day emotions, and “evaluative happiness ” in the fulfilment of life objectives they have set for themselves. At the individual level, happiness is a state of mind. At the societal plane, happiness is a complex phenomenon as it is intrinsically linked to the harmony amongst and fulfilment of goals of the society and its members

Happiness is equally the outcome of non-economic and economic parameters . The quest for happiness is closely tied to the quest for sustainable development, which is the combination of human well-being, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

The focus has to be on eliminating poverty, ensuring environmental sustainability, working towards social inclusion, and providing good governance to achieve the goals of sustainable development. Eradication of poverty would provide a strong boost to happiness. A sustainable environment would prevent irreparable harm to the planetary resources and to future generations. Social inclusion would ensure access to the fruits of progress to all. Good governance implies the ability of people to shape their own lives through transparent and accountable participatory political institutions. 

Detailed research has shown that there are some basic attributes of happiness and well-being. Factors that have been found to differentiate the level of happiness in the different regions of the world are: per capita income; healthy years of life expectancy; social support; level of trust; perceived freedom to make life decisions; and generosity . Higher income is no doubt important. But equally important are a better frame of mind and body, and existence of trust in the society. Material wealth can provide comfort but not necessarily happiness.  

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad , Sage Yajnavalkya tells his wife Maitreyi that whatever we do, we do it for our happiness. And that happiness is derived from the perceived promise of fulfilment of our own incompleteness. If we extend this thought to our day-to-day work life, we can say that when we perform our duty, we do it because it brings us joy; it gives us happiness.

If an educational institution evokes in a student that feeling of being fulfilled, it will create in the student a happy frame of mind where learning will become a joyful experience. Good infrastructure; inspired teachers; closeness to nature will all contribute to promoting a feeling of well-being. Students will look forward to education and desire to become a part of that education eco-system.

The institutions of higher learning – its academic leaders, faculty, students and alumni – have to work together to create that eco-system where learning becomes a joyous experience; where education leads to gaining of knowledge and wisdom, and breeds a feeling of happiness. It is our educatinoal institutes, the temples of learning, which must create these waves of happy human beings, who will build a happy India. Only those who are happy can spread happiness. Youth comprises more than 65 percent of India’s total population. If we have happy youth, they can work towards happiness in the society.

The question that now arises is: what is the path to happiness? , here is a guide –

  • Happiness is associated with joy and pride, smiling and laughter, good health and enjoyment, creativity and innovation, feeling of safety and other positive actions. You can enhance happiness by learning to wear a smile always; laugh at life; connecting with nature and getting involved with the community. Take interest in sports and nurture a healthy body. Be mindful of what you eat. Distinguish between need and greed. Bringing smiles on the faces of the deprived and the under-privileged can be a truly rewarding experience. Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore had said : “ I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy ” . You can do that.
  • Unhappiness is associated with anger, sadness, worry, depression, stress and pain. We see abundance of such negative feelings around us. Incidents of violence against women, road rage, substance abuse, and suicides are all manifestations of this unhappiness. This has to be dealt with by inculcating positive emotions and by displacing negative emotions. Seek help if you need it. Practice yoga and meditation. Every person suffers from negative feelings associated with unhappiness some time or the other in their lives. The success lies in decreasing the occurrence of such feelings by increasing the strength of positive feelings associated with happiness. You can leave behind a bad experience quickly by pro-social behaviour, including empathy and altruism. Look inwards for happiness.
  • Make books your best friends. Develop a love for books and inculcate the habit of reading. Develop an interest for art and culture. Become a keen observer of your surroundings and environment. Develop a habit of life-long learning. Think through the problems and their solutions. Remember that our happiness is not divisible. If we care for ‘others’, then we also share our knowledge and other resources with them. Happiness then becomes an inevitable derivative of a humane pursuit.

End Note-If you are writing an essay then you can pick the  above sentences and each sentence can become a theme and in turn a paragraph. And if you are writing a mains answer then you can squeeze all that in to 200 words.

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What is happiness and what are the ways and means to achieve happiness - Jnandeep Bora

What is happiness?

Happiness is the state of being well. Here 'being well' means that state in which the positive mental faculties of an individual are dominant over the negative ones. Happiness in this context encompasses the whole body, mind and the soul of an individual although this state of being happy is to a large extent being controlled by the mind of that particular individual. In this way, happiness is a state of mind.

Essay Contest for UPSC Exam for IAS

As happiness is an abstract concept so, it emerges in a particular individual's mind and it enriches his/her whole person. Thus happiness as a state of mind is, I think, desirable for the entire world being as nobody in this world wants to remain unhappy. Happy state of mind therefore is more valuable then pomp and gaiety in life.

The dictum 'money is as money does' is certainly overshadowed by happiness. This is because money can bring materialistic gain and this gain is transitory to a large extent but happiness in the true sense of the term is overwhelming as money is not certainly the only source of happiness in life. Money cannot enrich a person as it can sometimes be done by an innocent smile of a kid. So, for an individual happiness is all pervasive in its life'

Ways and means to achieve happiness:-

I think the ways and means of achieving happiness cannot be categorised in water-tight compartments. This is because as it is rightly said that 'many a man many a mind' in the same way, many the mind many are the means of achieving happiness.

Achieving happiness has more to do with the likes and dislikes of an individual as well as his/her whole personality at large. A person may be happy in a routine and punctual life full of responsibilities whereas another person may be happy by enjoying the serenity of nature and thereby remaining in the lap of nature.

At the same time, a book worm may be happy seating in frontof a pile of books reading them whereasanother member of his family may be happy in adventurous sports. The same adventurous sports may bring danger to his life too. In the same way a person's transition from a disillusioned mental condition to the state of mental calmness is also a way of happiness for him. In the same context, a patient's journey from sickness to wellbeing is a source of happiness.

So is the first sight of light for a blind person after his eye surgery and by which surgery he gains vision becomes the greatest reason in his/her life for achieving happiness.

Sometimes ways of achieving happiness are situational. For e.g., the first sight of water is a greatest source of happiness for a thirsty person, whereas for a marooned shrinking of water level or disappearance of water is the greatest source of happiness.

In the same way for a drowning person the sight of a helping person or a log of wood nearby to hold upon in order to save himself from drowning is the greatest source or happiness. Similarly for a poor person being able to meet his daily needs certainly by fair means is the greatest means of achieving happiness.

When we are in a chaotic environment, we yearn for serenity and calmness. Then serenity and calmness in such a situation becomes the means of achieving happiness.

In the same way, apleasantmusic for a music lover or a dancing beautiful bird is one of the greatest means of achieving happiness for a nature lover. For a romantic couple the sight of one another is the greatest source of happiness.

In a war-torn environment, the safety and security of soldiers is the greatest source of happiness for the respective soldier's family.

As for a patriotic soldier the defence of his country as well as its nationals for a secured future is the greatest means of achieving happiness.

All in all, the ways and means of achieving happiness depends on the nature, personalityand type of work with which a particular person is engaged in his/her life.

CONCLUSION:- In analysing happiness and the ways and means of achieving happiness it is worthwhile pondering whether the things which has made us happy is at the same time derogatory for others. If it is so, it will not be true happiness for the happy person.

On the contrary, it would be a story of 'one man's pleasure is one man's pain'. Considering all things, it can be said that, happiness as an abstract concept, its ways and means of achieving are varied, so varied are the individuals mind in this world.

-- Jnandeep Bora

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Day 20 – Q. 4 Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

  • December 17, 2022

Ethics and Essay , TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing

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Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

खुशी हर मिनट प्यार, अनुग्रह और कृतज्ञता के साथ जीने का आध्यात्मिक अनुभव है।

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World Happiness Report 2021

  • 20 Mar 2021
  • GS Paper - 2
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Why in News

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations released the World Happiness Report 2021 , a day before the International Happiness Day.

  • This year it focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

International Happiness Day

  • It is celebrated every year on 20 th March to highlight the importance of happiness in the diurnal lives of people.
  • The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
  • GNP is the total value of all finished goods and services produced by a country's citizens in a given financial year, irrespective of their location.
  • Theme of 2021: “Happiness For All, Forever”.
  • The World Happiness Report ranks 149 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
  • Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (Purchasing Power Parity).
  • Social Support.
  • Healthy life expectancy at birth.
  • Freedom to make life choices.
  • Generosity.
  • Perceptions of corruption.
  • Respondents are asked to rate their own current lives on a 0-10 scale.
  • Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Norway.
  • Afghanistan (149) is the most unhappy country.
  • Followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146) and Lesotho (145).
  • Pakistan- 105.
  • Bangladesh -101.
  • India has been ranked 139, out of 149 countries evaluated.
  • In 2020, India was ranked 144 out of 156 countries surveyed.

Sustainable Development Network Solution

  • The SDSN, launched in 2012, mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • It was established under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General.
  • The SDSN and the Bertelsmann Stiftung have been publishing the annual SDG Index & Dashboards Global Report since 2016.

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Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

Joy is an expression of happiness, satisfaction, content, thankfulness and freedom and gratitude is the quality of being ready to appreciate and being thankful for the same. Ideally, joy should be the simplest form of gratitude but practically we do not express joy as gratitude very easily. Factors like greed, jealousy, competition, ego, immaturity, selfishness are few of the villains in human life that do not let us express joy as gratitude easily. Humans have never been content and are always in competition for fulfilling ever growing greedy needs. Life on planet earth initiated with very basic survival requirements and natural death and gratitude. Humans earlier feared death by wildlife or natural calamities, they used to stay together as they knew if they wouldn’t stay in a group they will easily become food for wildlife. But with evolution and gain of knowledge also developed villain like factors, eventually making survival requirement ultimate goal by compromising humanity. Today, we hear news from all over the planet about how humans kill each other through terrorism, murder, exploitation etc and the reasons behind these activities is some or the other form of greed, jealousy, selfishness, competition or immaturity. The best example is of suicide, it is the inability of humans to express joy as gratitude that leads one to commit suicide. In India there is female infanticide, the superstitious myth that a girl child born is not going to be of any boon to the family and performing infanticide of that child clearly shows that joy is not expressed as gratitude. Child labour, baby dropping, dowry etc still prominent in many rural and urban areas of India are any of these practices a way to express gratitude? We have only been exploiting our own human race since ages by imposing on us these unfavorable rituals in the fear of God or religion or at times pure selfishness. On the daily routine basis not being helpful to others, not saying Thank You for every time you are helped even for smallest possible reason, not being sorry for hurting or committing mistakes, not smiling back as a greeting gesture are few other examples for not expressing gratitude and not being joyful of our very own existence as well as that of others. Gratitude lifts, it brings to joy. And what as we age, do we cherish and savor more than joy? Pleasure, power, fame, lust, money – they eventually lose their fastballs or should at our very best and wisest we just want joy and when we are filled with gratitude we see rich thick joy in the simplest of things, joy everywhere. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice, one can choose to be grateful even when one’s emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which one can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. A very good quote by Roger Ebert says that “ I was perfectly content before I was born and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. I believe, that if at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves; a little happier, that is about the best we can do.” Where does this little phenomenology of gratitude lead us? That much we can already say Gratitude springs from an insight, a recognition that something good has come to me from another person, that it is freely given to me and meant as a favor. And the moment this recognition dawns in my heart: “Je suis reconnaissant” – I recognize, I acknowledge, I am grateful; in French these three concepts are expressed by one term. It may be that one’s intellect insists on suspicion and does not allow one to recognize any favor as a favor. Selflessness cannot be proved. Reasoning about another person’s motives can only take one to the point where mere intellect must yield to faith, to trust in the other, which is a gesture no longer of the intellect alone but of the heart. Or it may be that one’s proud will refuses to acknowledge one’s dependence on another, thus paralyzing the heart before it can rise to give thanks. One’s longing for pure selflessness, for true gratitude, may be so deep and so much in discrepancy with what one has experienced in past that one gives in to despair. This inner gesture of gratitude can only come to itself when it finds expression of joy. The expression of joy makes the original gratitude over a favor received rise to a higher level. Grateful living is important in the world because in our constant pursuit of more and better we can easily lose the sight of riches that lay right in front of us. Grateful living is a way of life which asks us to notice all that is already present and abundant — from the tiniest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings- and in doing so, to take nothing for granted. We can learn to focus our attention on and acknowledge, that life is a gift. Even in the most challenging times, living gratefully makes us aware of, and available to the opportunities that are always available; opportunities to learn and grow and to extend ourselves with care and compassion to others. Grateful living is supported by daily practices, tools, habits of mind and behaviors that can be learned, translated and applied to many aspects of our lives. It is also nourished in a community and in a relationship. Small grateful acts every day can uplift us, make a difference for others, and help change the world. Gautama Buddha says, “ Let us rise up and be grateful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be grateful.”

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Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples. (250 words, 15 Marks)

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Essay on Joy is the Simplest Form of Gratitude [500+ Words]

December 20, 2020 by Sandeep

Joy is the Simplest Form of Gratitude Essay: The most blissful form of expression displaying happiness, solitude and satisfaction is defined as ‘joy’. Gratitude is the ultimate quality of humans that appreciates and exhibits thankfulness for the person who helped. Our selfishness, ego, bitterness, immaturity and selfishness avoid joy from being expressed as gratitude. We should find joy in the simplest things and be grateful to God for all that he has given us.

Essay on Joy is the Simplest Form of Gratitude

Haven’t we all admired the nature around us, the beauty of the greens on a nature spot, the beautiful flowers on a spring evening and a quietly flowing river through its path? These are the various gifts we have received from mother nature and they make our life beautiful on Earth. Yet, how many of us realise that they are there for a purpose, they serve in more than one ways to living things on earth and make our lives meaningful each day. In the busy lives we lead, we almost forget to realise this beautiful thing and lead almost selfish lives where ‘I, me, myself’ becomes the centre of our thinking.

The meaning of ‘Joy’

The tree experiences a lot of ‘joy’ in providing shelter to a whole lot of living things on earth. It doesn’t matter if man fells trees on land and uses them to serve his commercial purposes. The idea behind the tree serving its own purpose is the ‘joy’ it gets from being helpful to co-inhabitants on the planet. If the tree ever happened to withdraw its branches or rejected providing shelter to anyone, that would be a miserable state, hard to imagine. So basically ‘joy’ is a feeling, resulting in inner happiness, leading to a meaningful purpose and serving that purpose beyond selfish boundaries.

The beauty of ‘Gratitude’

If we talk about the tree again, man doesn’t realise how much necessary it was for him to thank the tree that gave him shelter, provided fruits and gave fresh oxygen to breathe. If he did realise the importance of that tree and thanked it for all the multipurpose necessities, he would certainly be grateful to the tree. Instead, we rather take things for granted and do not realise the actual value of an entity and how it served a whole lot of goodness to us.

We cut trees, we break its branches, we convert them into ornamental structures, etc, but we don’t thank the tree for having provided us an opportunity to do so. If man indeed loved and nurtured the tree and the purpose it served, then his inner beauty would have transformed into what is called ‘gratitude’ or simply put ‘being thankful in a kind way’.

Difference between ‘giving back’ and ‘paying back.’

Man, by nature is interdependent in his daily life. We get up in the morning and right from there, we depend on our family members to help us out in our various tasks and this continues till the end of the day is reached. Suppose we hire an auto to work and the auto driver takes you to your office on a certain day, we pay him the auto charge and end our journey with him at that point. This whole journey is more of a business transaction, where we paid dutifully for his services. But there is something lacking in it. Though the auto driver discharged his duty, he is also a human being co-existing with us. We can actually make a slight difference in this whole journey by adding two more ingredients.

We can supplement the auto charge we paid with a thank you and wish him a great day ahead with a beautiful smile. This added gesture now becomes ‘gratitude’ instead of it remaining a mere ‘transaction’. So, the difference is clear. Where we appreciate the people around us, where we thank people for what they do to us every day, where we shower people with love and kindness for all the support they provide, there exists a natural bonding or feeling of ‘gratitude’. This gratitude is experienced in the form of happiness, which is manifested with a feeling of satisfaction, ending up in seamless and abundant ‘joy’.

When we ‘give back’ a received item to a certain person by attaching a thankful message to them, we show our gratitude to them. We create ‘joy’ in their minds. In short, the joy experienced becomes a very powerful expression derived out of the other person’s gratitude. When we ‘pay back’ for a service rendered from a certain professional and leave with being grateful for it, it is more of a business process, adhering only to the policies laid out by the business.

Happiness counts

Patents nurtures their children right from the time a child is born till he becomes an adult and actually continues to do it all their lifetime. But when children need to look after their parents in their old age, many of them push them forcefully into old-age homes, depriving them of their love and happiness. Children forget to be grateful to their parents when it is their turn to take care of their aged parents. If we are wondering why this is increasingly becoming a common sight, it’s simply because children are not showing their gratitude to their parents.

They are failing to experience the joy of living with their parents in their later years and strengthening a holy bond with them. We have damaged mother earth to an unimaginable extent and have exhausted many natural resources and rendered many beautiful species extinct. The question is, why did man forget to show his gratitude to his supplier when he got so much more than what he asked, for his beautiful living. The answer is, man forgot to give back to the person who provided him with much more than what he asked. In aiming and reaching his selfish pursuits, he forgot the basic laws of nature and hence his life also became worthless in the process.

We all lead stressful lives, where every minute and every second counts and nobody has time for free. Yet, when so much is done with so much precision, why is it that we fail so many times. Why is it that we tend to fall out of balance in our pursuits? It is clearly an indication that man is not enjoying or rather has not learnt to enjoy the results he has earned for himself. If we bring a flowering plant and place it at a corner of our house just admiring the flowers every morning, we are only experiencing the outer beauty of the flower.

Happiness Curriculum

With a vision to enhance students’ mindfulness and positive productivity, the happiness curriculum is in action from 2018 in India. Similar to the conventional studies, practice to feel better is equally important. That’s how this curriculum is included at the school level to take care of mental health from childhood. In 2017, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, suggested the idea of such a curriculum for the children to learn to care for mental health. The basic idea behind such an initiative is to let the children grow safe and sound amidst the complex social problems and threats. In July 2018, this curriculum was launched officially by the 14th Dalai Lama and Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi.

This article will discuss the Happiness curriculum in the context of the IAS Exam .

The candidates can go through the relevant topics useful for their upcoming exams from the links provided below:

How do Happiness Curriculum activities work?

  • The curriculum is structured with a committee of 40 professionals, including the top school teachers, psychologists, education consultants, officials, multiple NGO volunteers, and the State Council of Educational Research and Training. All the discussion summed up into a planned syllabus of 25 units containing various modules for students of Nursery to class 8.
  • All the schools under the Government of Delhi are currently running this curriculum, and over 16 lakh students are a part of this huge program.
  • To learn about the happiness curriculum, the students must follow the philosophy imposed by great thinkers like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Agrahar Nagraj Sarman, etc.
  • As a student starts their education journey, they need to learn the fundamentals of emotional science to care for others as well as for themselves. That’s how this happiness curriculum works from the beginning in the elementary level of school.
  • As the students proceed academically, they need to learn more about observing body language, exploring their own preferences to find happiness, recognizing physical similarities, etc.
  • There are no grades, tests, or formal text-based study processes related to this course. So a student can enjoy and feel the right message through different modules as planned.

Importance of happiness curriculum in India

  • This course is as important as any other subject in the formal academic subjects present in school.
  • With the pressure a student has to bear through personal expectations and social problems, a healthy way to keep the self joyous is very crucial.
  • Also, the happiness curriculum activities not only help an individual to solve his own problems, but to assist someone else with empathy.
  • As there’s no grade system associated with the course, the students are free to learn this basic science of the mind at their own pace.
  • Moreover, in a country like India, where more than 50% of the population is youth, this curriculum can play a potential role to create a generous society from childhood.

Application and response

  • There are many positive responses about the happiness curriculum till now. Not only students but the teachers are getting benefits with this course. As the students are getting more attentive in class, the teachers are also prioritising values over academic success. Several organizations like Le Monde, World Economic Forum, and NPR praised this model of happiness curriculum. Also, states like Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand have adopted the idea of the happiness model. Also, countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, and UAE are influenced by this idea and are about to implement the same.
  • The happy curriculum in India is a pioneer in building fundamental awareness of mindfulness and social-emotional learning. However, there was a long gap in the pandemic situation. With a long future goal of developing a positive generation in this country, this curriculum would be a huge advantage for the students.

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Aspirants who shall be appearing for the exam for the first time and are willing to get some preparation tips and study material for the competitive exams can turn to BYJU’S for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions on Happiness Curriculum

Does a happy curriculum help.

It is proven that this course helps the pupils improve their thinking process, explore self preferences, and be empathetic with social circumstances. As this course is structured under professional observation, it will be effective to a large extent.

What are the things included in happy curriculum activities?

This curriculum includes different modules. The contents of these modules facilitate critical thinking practice and problem-solving skills with a positive approach.

Is participating in a happy curriculum only meant for children?

This course is currently designed for students from nursery to class eight only. It is meant to encourage them for potential emotional awareness.

Other related links:

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Essay (UPSC Mains) – Previous Year Questions

  • Thinking is like a game; it does not begin unless there is an opposite team.
  • Visionary decision-making happens at the intersection of intuition and logic.
  • Not all who wander are lost.
  • Inspiration for creativity springs from the effort to look for the magical in the mundane.
  • Girls are weighed down by restrictions, boys with demands — two equally harmful disciplines.
  • Mathematics is the Music of Reason.
  • A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.
  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Value based / Ethical Issues

  • A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities.
  • Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right.


  • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
  • You can not step twice in the same river.
  • A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ship is for.

Miscellaneous / Mixed

  • Forests are the best case studies for economic excellence. (Environment / Economics)
  • Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world ( Literature / Socio-political-economic impacts)
  • History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man ( History / Values / Philosophy)
  • Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.
  • Philosophy of wantlessness is Utopian, while materialism is a chimera.
  • The real is rational and the rational is real.
  • Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

History / Culture

  • History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

Science and Technology

  • What is research, but a blind date with knowledge!
  • There are better practices to “best practices”. ( Multiple Themes )
  • The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced. ( Philosophy / Technology)
  • Life is long journey between human being and being humane.
  • Mindful manifesto is the catalyst to a tranquil self.
  • Ships do not sink because of water around them; ships sink because of water that gets into them.
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
  • Culture is what we are, civilization is what we have.

Social Issues

  • There can be no social justice without economic prosperity but economic prosperity without social justice is meaningless.
  • Patriarchy is the least noticed yet the most significant structure of social inequality.
  • Technology as the silent factor in international relations ( Technology / International Relation ).
  • Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be.
  • Courage to accept and dedication to improve are two keys to success.
  • Wisdom finds truth.
  • South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural cultures and plural identities.
  • Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society.
  • Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness.

Science & Technology

  • Rise of Artificial Intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling.
  • Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy.
  • A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
  • A people that value its privileges above its principles lose both.
  • “The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values.
  • Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life.
  • Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it.
  • Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere.


  • Alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India.

IR & Security

  • Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task.
  • Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
  • Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.
  • Social media is inherently a selfish medium Domain.
  • Has the Non- Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multi-polar world Domain.
  • Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India Domain. ( Agriculture )
  • Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the union and states in India Domain.
  • Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.

Polity & Governance

  • We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws Domain.
  • Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed.
  • If development is not engendered, it is endangered.
  • Cyberspace and internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run Domain.
  • Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms.
  • Water disputes between states in federal India Domain.
  • Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality India.
  • Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality. ( Technology / Economy)
  • Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare Domain. ( Technology / Economy / Social Sector)
  • Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.
  • Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole.
  • Quick but steady wins the race.
  • Technology cannot replace manpower.
  • Can capitalism bring inclusive growth?
  • Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil. ( Education / Ethics)
  • Crisis faced in India – moral or economic. ( Morality / Economics)
  • With greater power comes greater responsibility.
  • Words are sharper than the two-edged sword.
  • Is sting operation an invasion on privacy?
  • Was it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of our country?
  • Tourism: Can this be the next big thing for India?
  • Is the growing level of competition good for the youth?
  • Are the standardized tests, good measure of academic ability or progress?
  • Dreams which should not let India sleep. ( Multiple themes )
  • Fifty Gold’s in Olympics: Can this be a reality for India? ( Sports / Governance )
  • Be the change you want to see in others – Gandhiji
  • Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.
  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the well-being of a country.
  • Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success? ( History / Culture / Growth & Development / Ethics )

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World Happiness Report 2024: India Ranks 126th Out of 143 Nations

essay on happiness upsc

Recently, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network released the World Happiness Report 2024 which ranks countries on the basis of happiness. 

  • “Variables including social support, life expectancy, free­dom, generosity, and the absence of corruption ” explain the happiness of countries.
, , , , , ,   and .

World Happiness Report 2024: Major Highlights, and India’s Rank.

About World Happiness Report

  • The rankings are from nationally representative samples over three years.
  • The Cantril Ladder asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10 and the worst possible life being a 0.
  • Collaborators include the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Gallup, and the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre.
  • Significance: It reflects a worldwide demand for more attention to happiness and well-being as criteria for government policy. It reviews the state of happiness in the world today and shows how the science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness.

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20th March every year. By the y on 28 June 2012, to make people around the world realise the importance of happiness within their lives. “Reconnecting for Happiness: Building Resilient Communities” It focuses on highlighting the for individuals and driving them to have a better life. It likewise The General Assembly of the United Nations in its proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness. a country which recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

to promote the at national and international levels. It was established

World Happiness Report 2024: Key Highlights

World Happiness Report 2024

Top Happiest Countries in the World:

  • The top 10 countries in the list have remained the same since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • In Asia: Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Mongolia.

Nordic Countries Dominate Top Ranks:

  • Finland, Denmark and Iceland retain their top positions at first, second and third place, respectively. Sweden followed closely at fourth. 
  • Costa Rica and Lithuania have broken into the top 20 list for the first time, securing ranks 12 and 19, respectively.

World Happiness Report 2024

Afghanistan Remains Least Happy Country:

  • Afghanistan retained its status as the unhappiest country in the world followed by Lebanon, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and Congo.

A High (5th) Rank Secured by Israel:

  • Despite ongoing conflicts, Israel secures the fifth position in the report. 
  • A cataclysmic event is one that changes a situation or society very greatly, especially in an unpleasant way.

Noticeable Shifts: 

  • The U.S. missed in the top 20 list, a first in 12 years of the report’s publication.

Benevolence Levels:  

  • There is a post-COVID increase in how benevolent people are across all generations, particularly those born after 1980, the Millennials and Generation Z “who are even more likely than their predecessors to help others in need”.

A Shift in Happiness Dynamics: 

  • Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland (all Nordic nations ), ranked the highest, while the opposite trend was observed in Portugal and Greece.

India’s Rank in World Happiness Report 2024

  • India lags behind its neighbouring countries like China at 60, followed by Nepal at 93, Pakistan at 108 and Myanmar at 118.
  • Aged 30 and Below: India ranked at 127th spot.
position globally in terms of its elderly population, with 140 million individuals aged 60 and above comprehending the factors that impact the quality of life during old age remains paramount. 
  • Aged 60 and Above: India ranked at 121st spot. Here, older age is associated with higher life satisfaction. 
  • Older Indian Women: They tend to report higher life satisfaction compared to men, despite facing more stressors and health challenges.
  • Older Indian Men: Particularly those in higher age brackets, presently married , and those with an education , tend to report greater life satisfaction compared to their counterparts.
  • Women often have broader social networks.
  • Among older Indians, factors such as dissatisfaction with living arrangements, perceived discrimination and poor self-rated health are linked to lower life satisfaction.
  • Correlation Between Caste Divisions And Life Satisfaction: It highlights that life satisfaction was higher among non-schedule caste (SC) and non-schedule-tribe (ST) than their SC-ST peers. 
  • Impact of Education & Caste: Education and caste played key roles, with older adults with higher education and those of higher social castes reporting higher life satisfaction than their counterparts without formal education and those from SCs and STs .
  • Regional Variations: Regionally , older adults from Western parts of India were much happier than those living in north-eastern or central regions.

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Arising Concerns in the World Happiness Report

  • The report raises concerns regarding the escalating disparity in happiness worldwide, particularly among older individuals and in Sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting discrepancies in income , education, healthcare, and social support systems.
  • Happiness inequality is widening in every region except Europe, increasing by more than 20% over the past dozen years. 
  • Aged 30 and Below:  Lithuania, Israel, Serbia, Iceland and Denmark ranked in the top five, with Finland at the seventh rank. 
  • Aged 60 and Above: Denmark claims the top spot for those over 60. 
  • There is an urgent need for policy action to address this concerning trend.

  • Millennials: The term used to describe a person born between 1981 and 1996, though different sources can vary by a year or two.

Challenges Associated with the World Happiness Report 

  • Implicit Focus on Resources: The Report  uses “happiness” and “life satisfaction” interchangeably, thus tying happiness scores with one’s access to economic and social resources. 
is the first state in India to have a department solely dedicated to promoting happiness and well-being.
  • Self-Declaration: Life satisfaction in the study is self-reported, thus there always remains the possibility of misreporting due to the fear of social stigma.

As rightly observed by the Dalai Lama, “the purpose of our lives is to be happy”, there is an urgent need to address all those issues which hamper happiness. India also needs to work upon in this direction by adopting the practices of Finland that help it to be on the top list and countering the challenges where India is lacking in this list. India needs to establish a Ministry of Happiness with academicians, economists, psychologists and social thinkers to map the road to happiness forever.

Increase is absolute and per capital real GNP do not connote a higher level of economic development, if

(a) industrial output fails to keep pace with agricultural output. 

(b) agricultural output fails to keep pace with industrial output. 

(c) poverty and unemployment increase. 

(d) imports grow faster than exports.

. (15 marks, 250 words)

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essay on happiness upsc

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 29 June 2024 covers important current affairs of the day, their backward linkages, their relevance for Prelims exam and MCQs on main articles


InstaLinks :  Insta Links help you think beyond the  current affairs issue and help you think multidimensionally to develop depth in your understanding of these issues. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background.

Table of Contents 

Gs paper 2: (upsc current affairs – 29 june 2024), antenatal healthcare, gs paper 3:, financial action task force (fatf) and mutual evaluation report, gs paper 4:, net-neet crisis: ethical aspects, facts for prelims (ffp), india’s forex reserve, rhisotope project, note: other topics of today’s current affairs will be taken along with monday’s current affairs, gs paper 1:.

Syllabus: Social Justice-Health

Source : Th

Researchers have recommended that oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) used to determine if a pregnant woman has developed gestational diabetes should be replaced by an HbA1c test that can also be used at the point of care .

About Antenatal / Prenatal healthcare:

Antenatal healthcare refers to the medical and healthcare services provided to a pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy. The primary goals of antenatal care are to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and the developing foetus.

  Key components of antenatal healthcare:

  • Regular Check-ups and Screening tests
  • Nutritional Guidance
  • Health Education
  • Management of Pregnancy Symptoms
  • Monitoring for Complications like gestational diabetes
  • Emotional Support

Government initiatives for pregnant women:

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), a demand promotion and conditional cash transfer scheme for promoting institutional delivery.
  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) entitles every pregnant woman to free delivery, including for c-section, in public health institutions along with the provision of free transport, diagnostics, medicines, other consumables, diet and blood.
  • Over 25,000 ‘ Delivery Points ’ across the country have been strengthened in terms of infrastructure, equipment, and trained manpower for provision of comprehensive Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition ( RMNCAH+ N) services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) provides pregnant women a fixed day, free of cost assured and quality Antenatal Care on the 9th day of every month.
  • LaQshya (Labour room Quality improvement Initiative) to improve the quality of care in Labour room and Maternity operation theatres to ensure that pregnant women receive respectful and quality care during delivery and immediate postpartum.

Challenges with maternal Healthcare in India:  

  • Maternal mortality rate: A United Nations report highlighted that India was among the top 10 countries responsible for 60% of global maternal deaths, stillbirths, and new-born deaths. In 2020, India accounted for over 17% of such deaths, making it the second-highest contributor after Nigeria.
  • Antenatal care (ANC) : O nly 34.1% of mothers attended one, two, or three visits , falling short of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of four visits.
  • Postnatal care: 16% of women in India did not receive any postnatal health check-ups, while 22.8% experienced delayed check-ups occurring two days after childbirth.
  • Lack of skilled health providers: 8% of Indian women did not receive tetanus shots, which are crucial for preventing infections during and after surgery. In about 11% of cases, no skilled health providers were present at the time of delivery , posing risks in detecting and managing complications.

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 29 June 2024 GS Paper 3:

Syllabus: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate

Context: The Mutual Evaluation Report of India , adopted at the FATF plenary in Singapore from June 26 to 28, places India in the “ regular follow-up” categor y, a status shared by only four other G-20 countries. This distinction highlights India’s significan t progress in combating money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF).

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):  

  • FATF is an inter-governmental policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Objective: To establish international standards, and to develop and promote policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
  • Origin: It was established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris to develop policies against money laundering. In 2001 its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing.
  • Headquarters : Paris,France.
  • F ATF members include 39 countries , including the United States, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, France, and the EU as such. India became a member of FATF in 2010.

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Mutual Evaluation Report of FATF:  

  • The mutual evaluation report is an assessment of a country’s measures to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • The reports are peer reviews , where members from different countries assess another country.
  • During a mutual evaluation, the assessed country must demonstrate that it has an effective framework to protect the financial system from abuse.
  • The FATF conducts peer reviews of each member on an ongoing basis to assess levels of implementation of the FATF Recommendations, providing an in-depth description and analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system.

Mutual Evaluations have two main components:  

  • Effectiveness: The most important part of a mutual evaluation is a country’s effectiveness ratings. During this visit, the assessment team will require evidence that demonstrates that the assessed country’s measures are working and delivering the right results.
  • Compliance: . The assessed country must provide information on the laws, regulations and any other legal instruments it has in place to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation.

FATF has 2 types of lists:  

  • Black List: Countries known as  Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put on the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries. Three countries  North Korea, Iran, and Myanmar are currently in FATF’s blacklist.
  • Grey List: Countries that are considered a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put on the FATF grey list. This inclusion  serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Consequences of being on the FATF blacklist:  

  • No financial aid is given to them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union (EU).
  • They also face a number of international economic and financial restrictions and  sanctions..
  • In addition to economic consequences, Black- and Grey-Listing d amages a country’s reputation and reduces its international standing.

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 29 June 2024 GS Paper 4:

Syllabus: Normative Ethics

  Source: Th

Context: The NET (National Eligibility Test) and NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) controversy highlights systemic failures and poor policy implementation over the years. Recurrent paper leaks, exam cancellations, incorrect results, and unexplained grace marks have eroded trust in the National Testing Agency (NTA). The recurrent paper leaks and recruitment scams point to the lack of fairness in the governance which is one of the 4 principles of virtue ethics .

About Virtue ethics theory:

  • Aristotle is one of the founders of the Virtue Ethics.
  • Virtue Ethics focuses on the development of good character traits (virtues) rather than on rules or consequences.
  • He says that the human is a rational animal . Human has got the ability to reason. This essential characteristic of being rational leads to achieve a particular goal or end which Aristotle calls virtue.
  • There are 4 important principles of virtue ethics: Fairness, Courage, Temperance, Wisdom.
  • Doctrine of Mean: Aristotle also says that virtue is a golden mean , that which lies in the middle of the two extremes. For example, courage as a moral virtue lies between the two extremes namely cowardice and fool-hardiness.

Virtues are of two types:

  • Intellectual virtues are that which can be taught and learnt. Prudence is one such virtue. We can easily learn from others as to how to be prudent.
  • Moral virtues c an be achieved by repeatedly doing an action that becomes a habit. These cultivated habits lead to achieving ultimate happiness.

Application to Paper Leaks and Recruitment Scams in India:

  • Fairness: Paper leaks and recruitment scams represent a significant breach of honesty and integrity. Upholding honesty in academic and recruitment processes ensures fairness and trustworthiness, which are essential for societal flourishing.
  • Justice: These scams create an unjust advantage for some individuals , undermining the principle of fairness. Ensuring just and fair practices in examinations and recruitments promotes equality and meritocracy, contributing to societal well-being.

Impact on Individuals and Society:

  • Individual Character Development: Engaging in or benefiting from such scams hampers the development of virtuous character traits, promoting greed and dishonesty.
  • Social Trust and Cohesion: Scams erode public trust in educational and recruitment institutions, leading to cynicism and societal fragmentation.

Insta Links:

NET-NEET Crisis: The Reasons Behind India’s Failing Exam System

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 29 June 2024 Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source : The Print

  Context:  India’s forex kitty jumps by USD 816 mln to USD 653.71 bln

  • India’s forex reserves witnessed an increase of USD 816 million , reaching USD 653.711 billion for the week ending June 21, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • It has decreased by USD 106 million to USD 574.134 billion.
  • FCA expressed in dollar terms reflects the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies like the euro, pound, and yen.
  • Gold Reserves: it has increased by USD 988 million. Total gold reserves stood at USD 956 billion during the week.
  • Special Drawing Rights (SDRs): it decreased by USD 57 million. SDRs totaled USD 049 billion.
  • India’s Reserve Position with the IMF: Decreased by USD 9 million. The reserve position was USD 4.572 billion.

 Source : TH

  Context:  South African scientists make rhino horns radioactive to curb poaching

About the Rhisotope Project:

  • The Rhisotope Project, initiated in 2021 by Prof. James Larkin, involves inserting measured quantities of radioisotopes into the horns of live rhinos.
  • Aim : By embedding “ two tiny little radioactive chips ” into the horn, the project aims to render the horn “ useless” and “poisonous for human consumption.”
  • The final phase includes follow-up care and blood samples t o ensure animal protection. The radioactive material lasts five years, proving more cost-effective than dehorning every 18 months.
  • Additionally, radioactively treated horns are more likely to be detected at international borders, increasing the chances of exposing and prosecuting smuggling syndicates under anti-terrorism laws.
  • Rhinoceros horns are highly sought after on black markets , where their price by weight rivals that of gold and cocaine.
  • Previous anti-poaching strategies like dehorning and poisoning horns have failed to deter poachers.


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