Recently, 2020 Democracy Index’s report titled “Democracy in sickness and in health?” has been released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
- India slipped two places to 53rd position due to the “democratic backsliding” by authorities and “crackdowns” on civil liberties has led to a further decline in the country’s ranking.
- 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 (6.9 in 2019) and its global ranking slipped from 27th (in 2014) to 53rd . India was ranked 51st in the 2019 Democracy Index.
- It has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’.
- Report alleged that the Central government had “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”.
- The authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic led to a further erosion of civil liberties in 2020.
- Sri Lanka: 68th , flawed democracy
- Bangladesh (76), Bhutan (84) and Pakistan (105) : ‘Hybrid regime’ category
- Afghanistan : 139th , ‘Authoritarian regime’
- Norway topped while Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada making up the top five.
- US, France, Belgium and Brazil : ‘Flawed democracy’.
- The Asia and Australasia region includes top-scoring New Zealand, which retained its fourth position in the global ranking, and persistent laggard North Korea at the 167th place.
- The region’s overall score fell in 2020 but it now has five “full democracies” with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan moving up the rankings compared with 2019.
- Australia : “Full democracy” (9th rank).
- Japan and South Korea both returned to the “full democracy” fold for the first time since 2014. Taiwan attained “full democracy” status for the first time following a spectacular jump up the rankings.
- Despite these upgrades, Asia’s average regional score deteriorated to its lowest level since 2013 as official measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic led to some of the most severe constraints on individual freedoms and civil liberties in the world.
- China, Singapore and others went much further than the rest of the world in tracking and policing their citizens and locking them down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The symbolism of Asia gaining three new ‘full democracies’ in 2020 and western Europe losing two (France and Portugal) was apt, as the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift in the global balance of power from the West to the East.
- Provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 167 countries.
- Out of 165 independent states and two territories, the Democracy Index classifies 23 countries as full democracies, 52 as flawed democracies, 35 as hybrid regimes and 57 as authoritarian regimes.
- The EIU report looks at the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on freedom and democracy around the world.
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) was the world’s leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis.
- The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture.