PARADOX COUNTRY

In the world’s largest democracy, 55% of people feel autocracy is good for governance

Quartz india
Quartz india

A surprisingly large section of Indians believe their country could do better with military rule or an autocratic government.

Some 67% of them believe in a less committed democracy, one where they support at least one non-democratic form of government, a report from (pdf) Washington-based think tank Pew Research shows.

The report, titled “Globally, broad support for representative and direct democracy,” is based on a survey conducted among 41,953 respondents in 38 countries between Feb. 16 and May 08.

While 79% of the Indian respondents were happy with the country’s democracy, 55% also believe autocracy is very good for governance. “In Asia, 55% of Indians, 52% of Indonesians and 50% of Filipinos favour autocracy. Such support is particularly intense in India, where 27% very strongly back a strong leader,” the Pew report said.

The survey, however, notes that people in rapidly growing economies trust their governments more. “In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% trust their national government,” Pew said in its report.

But the growing love for military rule is unmissable.

“Roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries,” the Pew report said (pdf). “But in these societies, older people (those ages 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers.”

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