Global Democracy Index Current Affairs - 2020

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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.

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India ranks 42nd in 2017 Global Democracy Index

India world’s largest democracy was ranked 42nd among 165 independent states on annual 2017 Global Democracy Index (GDI) released by UK-based company, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). India’s rank has slipped from 32nd in 2016 GDI and its overall score dropped 0.58 points from 7.81 to 7.23. Moreover, India was classified India as a flawed democracy in 2017 GDI

Global Democracy Index (GDI)

The index ranks 165 independent states and 2 territories on basis of 60 indicators grouped in five different categories viz. electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. It categories countries into four broad categories viz. full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime based on their score on a scale from 0 to 10. It is released by EIU, a research and analysis division of UK- based media behemoth The Economist Group.

Key Highlights of 2017 GDI

Top 10 countries in 2017 GDI: Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and Switzerland. Top three positions on the list were occupied by Nordic countries.

Top-ranked Norway was given overall score of 9.87 with perfect-ten scores for electoral process and pluralism; political participation; and political culture. Only top 19 countries have been classified as ‘full democracies’

Global Scenario: US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong were named among ‘flawed democracies’.  The hybrid regimes classified by it includes India’s neighbours Pakistan (110th), Bangladesh (92nd), Nepal (94th) and Bhutan (99th). Those named as ‘authoritarian regimes’ include China (139th), Myanmar (120th), Russia (135th) and Vietnam (140th). North Korea was ranked lowest at 167th and Syria second last at 166th place.

India related Highlights: India’s overall score has fallen to 7.23 points, even as it scored well on electoral process and pluralism (9.17). It scored low on other four parameters—political culture, functioning of government, political participation and civil liberties. India was ranked 49th with regard to media freedom (measured this year by EIU), with its media being classified as ‘partly free’.

The rise of conservative religious ideologies in India is another factor that has affected the country’s ranking. The strengthening of right-wing Hindu forces has led to rise of vigilantism and violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, as well as other dissenting voices.

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