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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.