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India slips in economic freedom index to 114th position, below China and Nepal: Top western institutes

By Our Representative
The latest Economic Freedom Index report, prepared by three of the west's well-known neo-liberal institute, has ranked India at 114th position in the world, below China, which has been ranked No 111th. Titled “Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report”, the top report, ironically, has found that India ranked pretty high in economic freedom before liberalization was introduced in 1991, but following some improvement, it again began slipping.
Thus, the report's data suggest that India ranked No 57th in 1980 and 81st in 1990. It slightly improved its position to 75th in 2000 and 78th in 2005. Then the fall began – it was 111th in 2010, 102nd in 2012, and the worst was in 2013, the last year for which the data has been collected, when it reached the 114th position. The report has been co-published by the Cato Institute (US), the Fraser Institute (Canada), and the Liberales (Switzerland).
Ranking 157 countries, the report has found Hong Kong ranking No 1, followed, interestingly, by Singapore, which has one of the world's most controlled political systems. Others in the top ten are New Zealand, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Other major countries' rankings are Australia 11th, the United States 16th, Japan 26th, Germany 29th, South Korea tied for 39th, Italy 68th, France 70th, Mexico 93rd, Russia 99th, and Brazil 118th. The 10 lowest-rated countries are: Angola, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Argentina, Syria, Chad, Libya, Republic of Congo, and, lastly, Venezuela.
Among other neighbours, interestingly, Bangladesh ranks just next to India, on the 115th position, and Pakistan is ranked way down, occupying the 124th position. Neipal ranks better than India, on the 106th position.
Coming to individual areas, India ranks 35th in size of government, 83rd in legal system and property rights, 134th in sound money, 135th in freedom to trade internationally, and 123rd in regulations. At the same time, the report ranks India as one of the ten worst ranking countries in other categories – life satisfaction and life control. Here, it is in the company of Pakistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Egypt and others.
Ranking countries on a scale of 10, the report states, “Global economic freedom increased slightly in this year’s report, but remains below its peak level of 6.92 in 2007. The average score increased to 6.86 in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.” India's score on a scale of 10 is 6.43, below world average.
Giving the index of others, the report states, “In this year’s index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.97 out of 10. The rest of this year’s top scores are Singapore, 8.52; New Zealand, 8.19; Switzerland, 8.16; United Arab Emirates, 8.15; Mauritius, 8.08; Jordan, 7.93; Ireland, 7.90; Canada, 7.89; and the United Kingdom at 7.87.”
“The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world with a score of 7.73. Due to a weakening rule of law, increasing regulation, and the ramifications of wars on terrorism and drugs, the United States has seen its economic freedom score plummet in recent years, compared to 2000 when it ranked second globally”, the report says.
“Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per capita GDP of US$38,601 in 2013, compared to US$6,986 for bottom quartile nations”, the report says, adding, “Moreover, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is about 50% greater than the overall average income in the least free nations.”
It further says, “Life expectancy is 80.1 years in the top quartile compared to 63.1 years in the bottom quartile, and political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations than in unfree nations.”
The first Economic Freedom of the World Report was published in 1996, a result of a decade of research by a team which included several Nobel Laureates and over 60 other leading scholars in a broad range of fields, from economics to political science, and from law to philosophy.
This is the 19th edition of Economic Freedom of the World report.

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