Democracy Index Current Affairs - 2020

Democracy Index released: India ranks 51; Slips 10 positions

On January 22, 2020, the Economic Intelligence Unit released Democracy Index for the year 2019. The index was topped by Norway. Norway was followed by Iceland and Sweden at second and third positions respectively. India was pushed to 51st rank slipping 10 positions as compared to its previous ranking

Highlights

According to the report, the slippage of India’s ranking was mainly due to the protests of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Report on Kashmir

With respect to the Kashmir issue of Abrogation of Article 370, the report says that certain acts of government over the issue led to the decline in the country’s ranking. It includes deployment of large troops in Jammu and Kashmir region, restricting internet access and also placing local leaders under house arrest.

Report on NRC

The report said that the citizenship registration exercise excluded 1.9 million people from the final list. Also, the majority of the population excluded were Muslims. This has enraged large Muslim population and has stoked protests in various parts of the country.

History of India’s Index

The democratic indices are awarded over a score of 10. Since the launch of the Index in 2006, India has obtained the lowest score of 6.9 this time in 2019. In 2018, India obtained 7.23. India’s highest score was 7.91 in 2014 and has declined since then. However, India’s scores have always remained above global average. This year, the global average was 5.44.

Democracy Index 2019 : Key Facts

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the Democracy Index which ranks 167 countries by 60 indicators across five broad categories.

The categories considered for the index are electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties.

The index classifies each country either as a full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime or authoritarian.

Highlights of the Democracy Index

The important findings of the democracy index are:

  • Only 4.5% of the world’s people live in a full democracy.
  • The overall global score remained stable in 2018 for the first time in three years.
  • 42 countries experienced a decline in their index score compared with 89 in 2017 and 48 countries have improved their score.
  • The Index notes that threats to democracy around the world have become increasingly obvious. The Arab spring fizzled, China’s leader is poised to rule for life, Populists with autocratic tendencies have won elections in the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico. Democratic institutions have been subverted in Hungary, Turkey and Poland.
  • The subversion of the democratic institutions have become so glaring that strongmen in different countries often copy each other’s tactics, sound bites and voters have become scapegoats.
  • Political participation is the most improved category in the index.

Rankings of the Countries

The countries rankings are highlighted below:

  • Australia and New Zealand are the only “full democracies” in the entire Asia-Pacific region
  • Eight countries Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, North Korea, Laos, Nepal and Sri Lanka which have the word “democratic in full titles were not fully democratic.
  • India was at the 41st place with a score of 7.23/10 and was placed in the flawed democracies category.

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, which is a British multinational media company headquartered in London. It provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports, and industry reports. It publishes a number of reports each year focussing on current issues affecting specific countries, regions and industries.