Thursday Jan 23, 2020
India has fallen 10 places on 2019 Democracy Index, down to the 51st position among 167 countries in total, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest report issued Wednesday.
The Economist cited, among various reasons, three major issues of concern behind the latest rating of India, "the world’s biggest democracy" currently being ruled by a "Hindu-nationalist government".
These included the August 5, 2019, decision to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status, the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the exclusion of almost two million "mostly Muslim residents from a tally of native citizens—in effect removing their citizenship" through the controversial national register of citizens (NRC) in Assam.
Categorised among the world's "flawed democracies", the publication cited "democratic regression [in] erosion of civil liberties", according to NDTV, as the primary factor behind the 6.90 rating, as opposed to the 7.23 in 2018. The latest rating also marks the lowest one for India since 2006, with the highest being 7.92 in 2014.
"The passage by Parliament in December of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act suggests India’s decline will continue in the 2020 index," The Economist added.
"The new citizenship law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities."
The rating is based on 60 indicators in total.
The situation in Kashmir remains concerning as there is a widespread communications blackout since over 100 days, while politicians and rights activists have been put under house arrest and a large number of Indian soldiers patrolling the valley.
Norway tops the list, with a 9.87 rating, and Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Finland following shortly. North Korea was ranked last.