Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index lists India at 51st place which is 10 places down from the previous year. The primary reason for this democratic regression has been traced to “an erosion of civil liberties in the country

About the Publisher:

The report, A year of democratic setbacks and popular protest, was done by The Economist Intelligence Unit — the research and analysis division of The Economist Group - records how global democracy fared, analyzing 165 independent states and two territories.

Parameters of Evaluation:

It includes five categories on which values are assigned on a scale of 0-10.

  • Electoral Pluralism
  • Government
  • Political Participation
  • Political Culture
  • Civil Liberties

Global trends in the Report: 

  • The average global score also recorded its worst value ever, driven by a sharp regression in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, a lesser one in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
  • Thailand registered the biggest improvement in score owing to the first election in 2019 since the military coup d’état in May 2014, while China registered the greatest decline as discrimination against minorities, especially in Xinjiang, 
  • The report describes the year in Asia as one filled with “drama and tumult,” with Hong Kong being the epicenter of protest in the continent. 
  • According to the report, there are only 22 “full democracies” as compared to 54 “authoritarian regimes” and as many “flawed democracies,” that include the U.S. which got demotion from Full Democracy.

Specific Comments on India:

  • India slipped ten ranks from last year with a score which is the country's lowest since 2006.
  • India was graded in the electoral process and pluralism (8.67), government functioning (6.79), political participation (6.67), political culture (5.63) and civil liberties (6.76).
  • The report specifically talks about the repeal of both Article 370 and Article 35A preceding which deployment of a large number of troops, house arrests of local leaders took place and since then restricted Internet access in the State.
  • It also takes note of NRC exercise in Assam that excluded 1.9 million people from the final list, with the vast majority as Muslims. Muslims have been further enraged by CAA which attempts to divide into religious lines and has brought them into large protests.
  • The report puts India under “flawed democracies”, countries that hold free and fair elections and where basic civil liberties are respected but have significant weaknesses in aspects of democracy, such as problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

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