- Recently, India has been classified as an “electoral autocracy” in the annual report named Autocratisation Goes Viral of Sweden-based Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute.
- This report comes just after the US watchdog Freedom House downgraded India’s status to “partly free” in its ‘Freedom in the World 2021’ report.
- The V-Dem Institute, an independent research organisation founded in 2014 by Swedish political scientist Staffan Lindberg.
- It produces its annual report on the state of democracy around the world based on a dataset of almost 30 million data points for 202 countries.
- The global decline of liberal democracies was ‘steep’ in the past 10 years in the Asia-Pacific region, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
- Apart from India, countries like Brazil and Turkey figured among the top 10 countries that slipped in rankings that were part of the G-20 nations.
- India was previously classified as an electoral democracy, however the latest report classified it as electoral autocracy.
- India is now as autocratic as is Pakistan, and worse than both its neighbours Bangladesh and Nepal.
- Political rights and civil liberties in the country have deteriorated since 2014, with increased pressure on human rights organizations, rising intimidation of academics and journalists, and a spate of bigoted attacks, including lynchings, aimed at Muslims.
Reasons for the Downgrade:
- Recently, Indian government has used laws on sedition (Section 124A), defamation(Section 499), and counter-terrorism to silence critics.
- It has used the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010 to restrict the entry, exit and functioning of civil society organisations.
- More frequent use of laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),1967.
SOURCE: THE HINDU ,THE ECONOMIC TIMES , MINT