Democracy Index: India falls 10 spots to 51st rank, ‘erosion of civil liberties’ behind downtrend

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Police lathicharge protesters against CAA and NRC in Lucknow on December 19. (Express file photo)

India plummeted 10 places to 51st position in the latest Democracy Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In the report, the "erosion of civil liberties" in the country has been attributed as the primary cause for the downtrend.

Included in the "flawed democracy" category, India's overall score slipped from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in the Index that provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.

This report comes even as India witnesses nationwide protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). At least 25 people have died—mostly from Uttar Pradesh—due to bullet injuries from firearms with serious questions being raised concerning the conduct of the UP police and the state administration.

The index is based on five categories—electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties.

Based on their total score, the countries are classified as one of four types of regime: "full democracy" (scores greater than 8); flawed democracy — scores greater than 6 and less than or equal to 8; hybrid regime — scores greater than 4 and less than or equal to 6; authoritarian regime — scores less than or equal to 4".

The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Iceland and Sweden. Other countries in the top 10 include New Zealand at the fourth place, Finland (5th), Ireland (6th), Denmark (7th), Canada (8th), Australia (9th) and Switzerland (10th).

Meanwhile, Pakistan was ranked 108th on the overall list with a score of 4.25, while Sri Lanka was at 69th place with a score of 6.27, Bangladesh (at 80th with 5.88 score). China's score, on the other hand, fell to 2.26 in the 2019 index, and the country is now ranked 153rd, close to the bottom of the global rankings.

North Korea was at the bottom of the global ranking at 167th place.

With PTI inputs