India’s rank in Global Democracy Index slips to 53rd position while still being categorised as a “flawed democracy”. This global index which was launched in 2006 has been drawn out by the Economist Intelligence Unit of The Economist Group, which is a sister company of The Economist newspaper.
India has seen a fall in its overall score, as in 2014 it had its peak scoring 7.92 and ranking 27th to 6.61 in the current index at 53rd position. India was ranked at 51st position in the 2019 Index.
Norway has ranked highest in the Index with a score of 9.81, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada. USA has also found itself under the “flawed democracy” category, ranking at 25th position.
The report attributes India’s fall due to “democratic backsliding” under Narendra Modi “whose policies have fomented anti- Muslim feeling and religious strife, has damaged the political fabric of the country”. The fall in position has also been attributed to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in 2019. “The Act introduces a religious element to the conceptualisation of Indian citizenship, a step that many critics see as undermining the secular basis of the Indian state,” says the report.
The report also cites PM Modi being part of the ground-breaking ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya which is being built on the site of a 16th century mosque which was demolished by a Hindutva nationalist mob in 1992. The report asserts that the temple’s construction will further endear Mr Modi to his Hindutva nationalist base. The report briefly mentions that the authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic also led to a further erosion of civil liberties, presumably referring to the Tablighi Jamaat incident which further led to communalisation of the pandemic causing the Muslim community in the country to face discrimination.
India’s neighbours Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan’s positions improved marginally in 2020, even if they do not rank higher than India.
India, like the rest of the countries, was graded under 5 parameters electoral process and pluralism (8.67), functioning of government (7.14), political participation (6.67), political culture (5.00) and civil liberties (5.59).
The complete report may be read here