India drops on democracy index as Pak nears bottom

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India is slipping as the world’s most populous democracy has dropped 10 places to be ranked 51st on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Democracy Index. But make no mistake; Bangladesh is at 80, Pakistan at 108 and China even worse at 153.

India’s overall score has fallen from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in the Index that provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. Based on their total score, the countries are classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy” (scores greater than 8); flawed democracy – scores greater than 6 and less than or equal to 8; hybrid regime – scores greater than 4 and less than or equal to 6; authoritarian regime — scores less than or equal to 4”. The Index puts India in the category of flawed democracy. 

The erosion of civil liberties, abrogation of Article 370, enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act, the digital restrictions in the form of clampdown on internet, detention of former chief ministers and other leaders have been cited as the main reasons for the sharp slide. For record, India stood at 41st slot last year and at 27th in 2014. The sharp slide points to an authoritarian rule. The annual survey rates the state of democracy on five measures, electoral process, and pluralism, functioning of the governments, democratic culture and civil liberties.

The Index also categorises 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.

According to the report, there are only 22 “full democracies” as compared to 54 “authoritarian regimes” and as many “flawed democracies,” that include the US.

The survey is a bad news for world democracy too as it finds that democracy has been eroded around the world in the past year with global score of 5.44 out of ten being the lowest recorded since the index began in 2006. According to the survey, more than a third of the world’s population, meanwhile, still lives under an authoritarian rule. It should be noted that a flawed democracy can be a drag on economy.

Without any doubt every Indian will feel hurt and pained at the slide in the ranking by the Democracy Index computed by well known entity-the Economist and the Economist Intelligence Unit. It’s time to walk the talk on minimum government, maximum governance. India’s diminishing democracy makes a strong case to make it more vibrant.

In India, the democracy index should be rising because we are one of those few countries who have solid democracy in this country. This is a red flag, which should remind us every minute that we have to be vigilant against erosion in democracy index because, it is hard earned and we can’t allow it to get diluted or diminished.