The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet on Friday announced the country's first ever happiness department, or Anand Vibhag, a proposal that was mooted by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in April. A sum of Rs 3.80 crore has been allotted for setting up the Anand Vibhag that will carry out regular research and experiments and strategise in a way to increase the level of happiness among its citizens, reported The Indian Express.

Chief minister Chouhan is likely to head the department as a minister. The new branch will work under a committee headed by a chairman. It will initially work along with others like the women and child development, health, and sports department.

Public Relations Minister Narottam Mishra said, “It is a first historic decision by any Indian state. We are looking at spiritual happiness and happiness through knowledge in accordance with Indian philosophy to bring happiness among the people of the state.”

Inspired by Bhutan, which introduced the Gross Happiness Index in 2010, Chouhan had announced the creation of such a department three months ago. The chief minister had said the purpose of setting up this department was to ensure happiness in the lives of people and to stop people from taking extreme steps like suicide.