Erosion of Civil Liberties: India falls 10 ranks in the EIU's Democracy Index
This rank is India’s worst ever since the index was first released in 2006.
India slipped 10 places to 51st position in the 2019 Democracy Index's global ranking, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit, which cited "erosion of civil liberties" in the country as the primary cause for the downtrend.
India's overall score fell 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.
"The primary cause of the democratic regression was an erosion of civil liberties in the country," the report said.
The index is based on five categories -- electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties.
India’s overall score of 6.90 was a result of the following sub-scores: 8.76 in Electoral process and pluralism, 6.79 on functioning of government, 6.67 in political participation, 5.63 in political culture, and 6.76 in civil liberties.
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".
India was included in the "flawed democracy" category.
The Economist reported, "India, the world’s biggest democracy, also slid down the EIU’s rankings after the Hindu-nationalist government stripped the Muslim-majority region of Jammu & Kashmir of its statehood in August. The decision by the Indian state of Assam to exclude nearly 2 million mostly Muslim residents from a tally of native citizens—in effect removing their citizenship—also contributed to the drop. The passage by Parliament in December of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act suggests India’s decline will continue in the 2020 index."
Meanwhile, China's score fell to 2.26 in the 2019 index, and the country is now ranked 153rd, close to the bottom of the global rankings.
"Over the past year discrimination against minorities, especially in the north-western region of Xinjiang, has intensified. Digital surveillance of the population continued apace in 2019, representing a further constraint on individual freedoms," the report said.
Among other emerging economies, Brazil was ranked 52nd with a score of 6.86, Russia stood at 134th with a score of 3.11.
Meanwhile, Pakistan was ranked 108th on the overall list with a score of 4.25, while Sri Lanka was at 69th place with a score of 6.27, Bangladesh (at 80th with 5.88 score).
The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Iceland and Sweden. Other countries in the top 10 include New Zealand at the fourth place, Finland (5th), Ireland (6th), Denmark (7th), Canada (8th), Australia (9th) and Switzerland (10th).
North Korea was at the bottom of the global ranking at 167th place.