Health of democracies ranking
A report on the "health" of democracies across the world has criticised India for "discriminatory actions" against minorities in the world's largest democracy. India’s overall score dropped to 71 in 2020, compared to 75 in 2019. It, however, does not include Kashmir, which is rated separately, and carries a score of only 28 out of 100. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have scores of 38, 39 and 58 respectively. China is ranked 10. Titled “A Leaderless Struggle for Democracy,” the report was prepared by Freedom House, a government funded NGO in the US.
- It mentions several key points, including the abrogation of article 370 and internet shutdown in Kashmir, suppression of protests, controversial citizen register in Assam, threat to freedom of expression and the citizenship amendment act (CAA), as reasons behind “alarming setbacks to Indian democracy.”
- The report, which studied 195 nations and 15 territories over the past year, uses 25 indicators, which together carry a total score of 100. The country’s most notable drop has been in terms of civil liberties, which is the largest decline among the 25 most populous democracies.
- Indicators used to study a democracy’s health is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and include electoral processes, political processes and pluralism, functioning of government, freedom of expression and belief, association and organisational rights, rule of law, personal autonomy and individual rights.
- Commenting on Kashmir, the report states that “its status declined from ‘Partly Free to Not Free’ due to the Indian government’s abrupt revocation of the region’s autonomy, the postponement or elimination of legislative elections, and a security crackdown that sharply curtailed civil liberties and included mass arrests of local politicians and activists.”
- The report acknowledges that India “continues to earn a Free rating and held successful elections last spring”, but adds that the present government has distanced itself from the country’s founding commitments to pluralism and individual rights, without which democracy cannot long survive.”