Democracy backsliding – The Global State of Democracy Report 2021

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admin December 7, 2021
Updated 2021/12/07 at 4:00 PM

Between 2016 and 2020, the number of nations moving toward authoritarianism has progressively increased, outnumbering the number of countries making democratic advances. Democratic backsliding (state activities that weaken the quality of democratic institutions and procedures) has escalated with the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. With a sudden and protracted lockdown in 2020, India joined the worldwide trend, causing tremendous economic and social hardship for marginalised and vulnerable communities. India was classified as an “electoral autocracy” by Sweden’s V-Dem Institute in March 2021, whereas India was classified as “partly free” by Freedom House. In its Global State of Democracy 2021 (GSoD) report, another Swedish think tank, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), classified India as a “major decliner” and a “backsliding democracy.”

What will be included in the Global State of Democracy Report for 2021?

International IDEA, a Stockholm-based international think-tank that seeks to strengthen democracy throughout the world, prepared and issued the GSoD report. India is one of the organization’s founding members. The GSoD 2021 report ranks 165 nations based on 116 factors that span five essential democratic characteristics: representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration, and participatory engagement.

What are the report’s conclusions?

According to the GSoD 2021 research, the number of nations sliding toward authoritarianism is three times higher than those moving toward democracy. This tendency has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the analysis, only 59% of the nations on the GSoD index can be classified as democratic in 2020. According to the research, “70% of the world population today lives under either non-democratic regimes or democratically backsliding nations.” According to the survey, Brazil, India, and the United States are the countries that have regressed the most. According to the report, illiberal and populist parties, social and political polarisation, economic crises, and misinformation are all elements that have contributed to the deterioration of democracy, according to the report. According to the report, India is the “backsliding democracy with the greatest democratic transgressions during the pandemic.” Along with the growth in authoritarian inclinations, the GSoD study observes, there has also been a surge in civic activism. During the pandemic, there were demonstrations in 135 countries (82%). Even though some nations observed a drop in clean elections, the research claims that the procedural part of democracy, elections, has demonstrated “remarkable resilience.”

 India’s overall assessment 

The GSoD does not use its data to create a final aggregated score that may be used to determine a ranking. It favours comparing a country’s indicators to itself throughout time so that the country’s democratic attributes may be analysed independently. The basic attribute ratings for India may be found in the public GSoD database and date back to 1975. Surprisingly, India did well in practically all the criteria between 1996 and 2014. The scores, which began in 2015, show a clear loss of democratic advances. For example, India’s representative government score increased from .59 to .69 between 1975 and 1995. It was.72 in 2015. However, in 2020, it was .61, which was closer to India’s score in 1975, when it was subjected to the Emergency. Similarly, in 2015, the clean elections score was .85. It was at .65 in 2020. In 2010, India’s basic rights score of .58 was deemed poor. It has dropped to .54 by 2020. India’s civil liberties score dropped from .65 to .53 between 2010 and 2020, while its checks on government score dropped from .71 to .58. The analysis also indicates that between 2015 and 2020, the media integrity score dropped 7.9%, judiciary independence dropped 2.5 percent, and parliament’s effectiveness dropped 9.6%.

As a result, the GSoD assessment concludes that India is in jeopardy as a democracy, classifying it as a “middle-range functioning democracy.” Since 1975, India has shared the lowest score on the religious freedom index with Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The study also claims that “executive aggrandisement” has occurred in India as a result of “many small-scale systematic attacks” that have resulted in the weakening of executive checks.

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