New Delhi: World’s largest democratic country, India, in 2020 Democracy Index’s global ranking, fell two places down to 53rd position due to “democratic backsliding” by authorities and “crackdowns” on civil liberties, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. 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”.
However, India still ranks higher than most of its neighbouring countries. Country’s overall score fell from 6.9 in 2019 to 6.61 in the Index that provides a clear understanding of the current situation of democracy worldwide for 167 countries. “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, EIU said.
Meanwhile, Norway topped the report titled “Democracy in sickness and in health?”, with Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada securing position in the top five.
Out of 167 countries, the Democracy Index classified 23 countries as full democracies, 52 as flawed democracies, 35 as hybrid regimes and 57 as authoritarian regimes. Among which India has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ along with countries such as the US, France, Belgium and Brazil.
The EIU report also stated that in India and Thailand, “democratic backsliding by the authorities and crackdowns on civil liberties led to a further decline in their global rankings”.