India drops 10 places in The Economist’s democracy rankings over Kashmir and citizenship law

Some major saffron flags on democracy.
Some major saffron flags on democracy.
Image: AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
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India is a weaker democracy than it was a year ago.

Today (Jan. 22), The Economist released its annual Democracy Index that provides a snapshot of the state of democracy in 165 independent states and two territories. And India’s democratic performance in 2019 leaves much to be desired.

“Elections took place in the biggest democracy in the world, India, over April-May 2019. However, the country dropped ten places in the Democracy Index’s global ranking to 51st. India’s overall score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.9 in 2019,” the report said.

India’s 2019 score was also the lowest on record since The Economist began compiling figures on global democracy in 2006.

The Democracy Index ranks countries based on five parameters: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

In India, 2019 was a tumultuous year on all of those fronts.

The latter half of last year saw the country devolve into political turmoil as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government took several historic decisions that proved to be flashpoints. This includes revoking Jammu & Kashmir’s autonomous status by abolishing Article 370 of the Indian constitution and the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which is widely perceived to be discriminatory.

These came together to undercut both civil liberties and India’s global democratic standing in 2019.