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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?