• 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.

About V-Dem:

  • 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.

Global Scenario:

  • 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’s Position:

  • 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.


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