New Delhi: India, deemed as the world’s democracy, has slipped 10 places to the 51st rank among 165 nations and two territories according to the Democracy Index 2019, stated The Economist in their annual report of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In the 12th edition of the EIU’s Democracy Index, India has been categorised under ‘flawed democracy’, attaining the lowest rank since 2006, when the index was first published.
The Democracy Index 2019 of the EIU is based on five broad categories – electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, as well as political culture. Based on their scores out of 10 on 60 indicators within the categories, each country is then classified under four types of regime – full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime, and authoritarian regime.
Listing the reasons for the fall of India’s democracy rank, the report emphasised on the Centre’s move in Jammu and Kashmir following the scrapping of Article 370 in August last year and “repealing two key constitutional provisions granting it powers of autonomy”.
It also pointed out the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that has stirred widespread protests across the nation.
India has witnessed a significant decline in all the five categories on the chart, scoring 8.67 in ‘electoral process and pluralism’, 6.79 in ‘functioning of government’, 6.67 in ‘political participation’, 5.63 in ‘political culture’, and 6.76 in ‘civil liberties’.
While the country has never made it to “full democracy”, it must be noted that India has seen a consistent decline since 2014, during the span of the BJP government. However, this is the first year the score has fallen below the 7 mark.
“The primary cause of the democratic regression was an erosion of civil liberties in the country,” The Economist stated in its report.
“Ahead of the move (revocation of Article 370), the government deployed a large number of troops in J&K, imposed various other security measures and placed local leaders under house arrest, including those with pro-India credentials. The government also restricted internet access in the state,” the report said.
The internet suspension for over 100 days as well as the stringent security lockdown, including the detention of many politicians and activists topped the chart’s basis for ranking India’s democracy.
However, India is not the only nation to witness a decline as most Asian nations have downgraded in the rankings due to a year of various protests and government restrictions on freedom.