Skip to main content

India a key country witnessing autocratic trend, thanks to Modi's "hardline" Hindu nationalism: Swedish report

By Our Representative
A recent report  by a Swedish institute has identified India as one of the top countries where it has witnessed “disquieting trends” for the future of democracy. Other “key countries”, where a similar trend is visible are Brazil, India, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.
Pointing out that “the recent significant declines in liberal democracy in India and the United States alone have affected some 1.6 billion people”, the “Annual Democracy Report 2018”, prepared by the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, regrets, however, “Less than 1 million people benefited from the improvements”, and the countries involved are “Bhutan and Vanuatu.”
Aspects of liberal democracy in India: 2007 and 2017
Assessing 178 countries for Liberal Democracy Index (LDI), the report ranks USA 31, Brazil 56, Poland 50, India 81, Turkey 149, and Russia 151, noting, especially over “the last two years, there is a striking rise in the share of the world’s population living in countries backsliding on democracy” – about “one third of the world’s population – or 2.5 billion people.”
Other countries, which are part of what the report identifies as “global autocratization trend”, are Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand and Ukraine, underling, “Thus, major countries across the democracy-autocracy spectrum are shrinking whatever democratic space was present.”
The report says, “The pattern of backsliding in the most populous democracy – India – exemplifies this trend”, adding, “In India, the infringements on media freedom and the civil society activities of democracy following the election of a Hindu-nationalist government have started to undermine the longest-standing and most populous democracy in the Global South.”
Even as pointing out that India’s “main indicators of the core electoral aspects of democracy do not show significant decline”, the report warns, “It remains to be seen if this trend will be reversed in the coming years or if India will descend further into the authoritarian regime spectrum – as during their authoritarian interlude from 1975-77.”
Countries registering positive and negative trends
between 2007 and 2017
Asserting that “India is at risk”, the report says, “The disquieting trend particularly concerns freedom of speech and alternative sources of information, civil society, the rule of law, and some electoral aspects”, adding, “Much of these changes have taken place after the BJP won the parliamentary elections in 2014 and its leader, the current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi assumed office.”
Calling Modi a “hard-line Hindu Nationalist”, the report believes, the report complains, “While there are about 12,000 newspapers circulating in India today, the media is increasingly being censored. Several newly introduced or more harshly enforced laws hinder free speech and encourage censorship.”
Giving the example of “India’s law on defamation”, which “contains prison sentences of up to two years”, the report says, it is being “used to silence critical journalists at an increasing rate.” It adds, “Moreover, sedition laws that were upheld by the courts in 2016 even allow harsh punishment of people accused of inciting “dissatisfaction” – disloyalty and all feelings on enmity – towards the government.”
The report
The report further says, “The autocratization-process in India has also led to a partial closing of the space for civil society. The government increasingly restricts the entry and exit of civil society organizations (CSOs) by using a law on foreign funding for NGOs, the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).”
The report ranks countries not just for Liberal Democracy Index (LDI), but also other indicators. Thus, while for Electoral Democracy Index (EDI) is found to be ranking 82nd, Liberal Component Index (LCI) 78th, and Participatory Democracy Index 82nd, the main issues India is found to be facing are in Egalitarian Component Index (ECI), where it ranks 110th, and Deliberative Component Index (DCI), where it ranks 128th.
If ECI seeks to identify the egalitarian principle of democracy measures to what extent all social groups enjoy equal capabilities to participate in the political arena, DCI captures assesses the process by which decisions are reached in a polity through public reasoning instead of emotional appeals.
---
Download report HERE

Comments

Uma said…
All right wing/fascist governments, by their very nature, are autocratic

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry deceptively using geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.