India, the largest democracy in the world, was given 53rd position in the 2020 Democracy Index’s global ranking, going down by two places to the 51st rank secured in 2019.
The ranking was given by the Economist Intelligence Unit which said that the “democratic backsliding” by authorities and “crackdowns” on civil liberties has led to a further decline in the country’s ranking. However, India was ranked higher than many of the neighbouring countries.
The overall score of India fell from 6.9 in 2019 to 6.61 in the Index that provides a picture of the current state of democracy in 167 countries across the world.
“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.
Norway topped The EIU’s latest Democracy Index report titled “Democracy in sickness and in health?”, with Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada securing the top five places.
Out of the 167 countries, the Democracy Index classified 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 the US, France, Belgium and Brazil.
Further, 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 also alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government has “introduced a religious element to the conceptualization of Indian citizenship, a step that many critics see as undermining the secular basis of the Indian state.”
“The authorities’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a further erosion of civil liberties in 2020,” the report said.