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Bhutan parliamentarians begin study tour of Arunachal Pradesh

Itanagar , Thu, 16 Feb 2012 ANI

Itanagar, Feb 16 (ANI): Gross National Happiness (GNH) or happiness interwoven with balanced economic development was a concept introduced by Bhutan's King in 1972, as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said Bhutan's National Assembly member Dupthob at the start of four-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh as the leader of a five-member team.


Dupthob, the chairman of the National Assembly's Poverty Reduction Committee, conveyed this message to Arunachal Pradesh State Assembly Speaker Wanglin Lowangdong, Deputy Speaker Jomde Kena and other assembly officials on Thursday.


The 33-year-old first timer parliamentarian, said GNH is one of the Million Development Goals (MDGs) of Asia's happiest nation that graduated to parliamentary democracy in 2008 on the insistence of Bhutan's fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck.


The GNH is based on four pillars - 1) sustainable socio-economic development by taping hydropower and setting up of industries to enrich national coffer; 2) protect environment, forests and rivers (Constitution prescribes 60 percent of nation's total 38,394 square kilometre area to be under forests); 3) cultural protection and promotion of the religious-rich people of the world's last Buddhist kingdom by protecting monasteries, promoting festivals and 4) good governance.


Agreeing with his view, Speaker Lowangdong said: "There is no denying the fact that every human being wants happiness. We, the nature and peace loving Arunchalees were much happier before materialism invaded tribal society. Many Arunchalees of late are suffering from blood pressure, diabetes and chronic disease is the best indicator."


Both exchanged views on the parliamentary system of governance in Bhutan and in Arunachal Pradesh.


Lowangdong lauded Bhutan for its spirit to protect its rich culture and environment, saying Arunachal Pradesh, particularly Tawang and West Kameng districts, have lot of cultural affinity with Bhutan.


Disclosing that after visiting Bihar, the team is here to study the democratic process and steps taken for poverty alleviation, Dupthb extended an invitation to Speaker Lowangdong to visit Bhutan soon.


Accepting the invitation, Lowangdong said: "The 60-member young Arunachal Assembly is a symbol of true democracy where decisions are taken in greater welfare of the people that too with the unanimous voice of the opposition."


The tribal-dominated state has made rapid development strides, particularly after Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited it on January 31, 2008 and announced a huge economic package, including the 1,554-km Trans-Arunachal Highway, being developed as an inter-district double-lane highway to speed up the process of socio-economic development of the land-locked state that had graduated to parliamentary democracy in 1975, Lowangdong added.


The Bhutan team visited the assembly house, which includes Members Kinley Dorji, Ugen Tenzin and Choeki Wangmo (one of the four women of a total 47 members), besides officer Tenzing Namgey.


The team, accompanied by state protocol officer Bandhana Deori and Papumpare Deputy Commissioner Pige Ligu visited Chimpu, and attended an official dinner hosted by Finance, Planning and PWD Minister Chowna Mein in the evening.


They are scheduled to visit Ziro tomorrow. (ANI)


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