India was included in the "flawed democracy" category (Photo Credit: PTI File)
India slipped 10 places to 51st position in the 2019 Democracy Index's global ranking, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit, which cited "erosion of civil liberties" in the country as the primary cause for the downtrend. India's reputation has suffered in recent times as government has taken some bold measures which has resulted in protests and discontent in several sections of the country.
Expressing concern over the "discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act", the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial NRC (national register of citizens) , The Economist cited "democratic regression (in) erosion of civil liberties" as a major reason in awarding a score of 6.9 on 10 - its lowest since the index was first published in 2006.
India's overall score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.9 in the Index that provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. The index is based on five categories - electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties.
Based on their total score, the countries are classified as one of four types of regime: "full democracy" (scores greater than 8); flawed democracy - scores greater than 6 and less than or equal to 8; hybrid regime - scores greater than 4 and less than or equal to 6; authoritarian regime - scores less than or equal to 4".
India was included in the "flawed democracy" category.
In its observations on India, the report referred to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where key opposition politicians, including three former Chief Ministers, continued to be detained more than five months after revoking of special status under Article 370. Kashmir has also been hit by a stringent security lockdown that included deployment of large numbers of soldiers and suspension of mobile and broadband internet for over 100 days.
The report also talked about the widespread protests against the amended Citizenship Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). About two dozen people have died in violence related to protests against Citizenship Amendment Act.
Meanwhile, China's score fell to 2.26 in the 2019 index, and the country is now ranked 153rd, close to the bottom of the global rankings.
"Over the past year discrimination against minorities, especially in the north-western region of Xinjiang, has intensified. Digital surveillance of the population continued apace in 2019, representing a further constraint on individual freedoms," the report said.
Among other emerging economies, Brazil was ranked 52nd with a score of 6.86, Russia stood at 134th with a score of 3.11.
Meanwhile, Pakistan was ranked 108th on the overall list with a score of 4.25, while Sri Lanka was at 69th place with a score of 6.27, Bangladesh (at 80th with 5.88 score).
The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Iceland and Sweden. Other countries in the top 10 include New Zealand at the fourth place, Finland (5th), Ireland (6th), Denmark (7th), Canada (8th), Australia (9th) and Switzerland (10th).
North Korea was at the bottom of the global ranking at 167th place.