Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happiness Index of Singapore

Happiness Index of Singapore 

A team of 38 officers of middle management level (Director rank, equalised with Joint Secretary grade in India) lead by the 51 years old Director of Water Supply, are on 5 days visit to India as part of their 3.5 weeks in service training under Government Leadership Programme (GLP). They are spending 2.5 days in Ahmedabad and 2.5 days in Banglore. That includes some spots visit and interaction with Government and private officials. 

Singapore is a sovereign city State with a tropical climate and 5.6 million multicultural population, famous for its growth model. It's a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: the most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), second-most competitive country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, and the second-busiest container port. The country has also been identified as a tax haven. It is ranked 11th internationally and first in Asia on the UN HDI. It is ranked highly in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing. 

It was developed as trading post by British East India Company, therefore it carries the same legacy of British administration like India, but better known for its global trades, development models in urban development, service deliveries, good governance and tourism. It became independent from British rule in 1963 and became sovereign nation from Malaysia in 1965. It is served by approximately 300 officers like IAS in India, working in various departments. They have unique promotion policy, not based on seniority but based on performance appraisals. A batch may induct in service together but each of the officer is judged by his reporting and reviewing authority very carefully during the first five years of his/her service and based on the assessment of his/her strengths, they decide the career growth of the individual officer that upto what rank he/she should be grown at what age in the administration. The smarter and efficient guys grow up faster, therefore there is very keen competition amongst officers in performing their duties. 

The Country after achieving heights in growth index, now worry about their negative growth rate. Therefore, they study the global trends, reexamine Singapore's operating model to find out new opportunities to take the country forward in future economy. They worry about their population shrink as the youths marry in their 30s. 38% of the population is on PR and foreign nations. It is ranked high in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing, but does not fare well on happiness index. Income inequality is high, therefore each adult compare himself with the neighbour, with the peer, and are on run after money. Some of them are addict of alcohol, drugs and casinos.  Cases of family violences are increasing as the tolerance level of partners going down. In stress or depression many get sleep after drinking alcohol. After reaching to the height, the chase for no.1 is creating more stress over their life. The cost of living is going up and the expectations for searching for further growth opportunities is making them restless. Earning income is their religion, therefore they are  far away from the questions: who am I? What is the purpose of life? From where the happiness comes in? 

During the interactive dinner meeting, some of them were very curious to know about Indian philosophy and our way of life. They confessed that they don't have a system of teaching either through parents or educational institutes or religion that penetrate the thoughts of philosophy and good virtues of life like the Indian system does. They were surprised with the policy of 100% prohibition in the State of Gujarat. When they saw the women and girls walking on roads after 10.30 pm, they realised, how peaceful the State is. They are highly impressed with the peace loving nature of the people. They realised that vegetarianism and non alcoholic life bring more joy and happiness in family and social life than a chase after money, alcohol and casinos. However, we have to learn many lessons from Singapore on health care, education, good governance, urban planning and slum rehabilitation, tourism promotion and financial city development. 

The Consule General of Singapore to India Mr. Ajit Singh was right in saying that there should be a regular practice of officers delegations visit to both the countries every year to learn from each other and to exchange the best practices and knowledge including Indian philosophy.

14 February 2017


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