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

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.