India slipped two places in the 2020 Democracy Index’s global ranking. India slipped to 53rd position due to ‘democratic backsliding’ by authorities and ‘crackdowns’ on civil liberties, said The Economist Intelligence Unit. India was ahead of most of its neighbours, while Norway topped the list.
‘With mounting pressure on India’s democratic norms, India’s score fell from a peak of 7.92 in 2014 to 6.61 in 2020 and its global ranking slipped from 27th (in 2014) to 53rd as a result of democratic backsliding’ under the current regime, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said.
‘The authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic led to a further erosion of civil liberties in 2020,’ the report said.
Out of 167 countries, the Democracy Index classifies 23 countries as full democracies, 52 as flawed democracies, 35 as hybrid regimes and 57 as authoritarian regimes. India has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ along with countries such as the US, France, Belgium and Brazil.
Among India’s neighbours, while Sri Lanka, at 68th rank, is classified as a flawed democracy, Bangladesh (76), Bhutan (84) and Pakistan (105) are classified in the ‘hybrid regime’ category. Afghanistan is ranked 139th and classified as an ‘authoritarian regime’ in the index.
The EIU report said that in India and Thailand, “democratic backsliding by the authorities and crackdowns on civil liberties led to a further decline in their global rankings”. It further alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government has “introduced a religious element to the conceptualisation of Indian citizenship, a step that many critics see as undermining the secular basis of the Indian state”.
Norway topped the Democracy Index report with Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada making up the top five. The Asia and Australasia region includes top-scoring New Zealand, which retained its fourth position in the global ranking (out of 167 countries), and persistent laggard North Korea at the bottom of the global ranking in 167th place, the EIU said in a statement.