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India Among Top 10 Autocratising Nations, Says Report on Global Democracy

Among 179 countries, India ranked 93 in the Liberal Democracy Index, and 100 in the Electoral Democracy Index, says V-Dem’s report.
India Among Top 10 Autocratising Nations, Says Report on Global Democracy

Image Courtesy: Telangana Today

New Delhi: India has figured in the top 10 autocratising countries of the world along with El Salvador, Turkey and Hungary, and projections indicate that there will be a further decline in democracy in the country, according to a recent report released by the Sweden-based V-Dem Institute (Varieties of Democracy research project). 

The report, titled 'Democracy Report 2022: Autocratization Changing Nature?', noted that a new wave of democratisation is being seen in 15 countries, while 32 countries reel under autocratisation. The countries are categorised based on V-Dem’s liberal democracy index (LDI), which captures both electoral and liberal aspects of democracy and goes from the lowest to the highest levels of democracy. 

The report pointed out that electoral autocracies are home to the largest share of the world population following India’s downgrade from electoral democracy in 2020. As of 2021, 44% of the world’s population – 3.4 billion people – lived in electoral autocracies. Very large proportions of the world population live in electoral autocracies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Africa, West Asia and North Africa. In 2021, countries such as El Salvador, Nigeria, and Tunisia turned into electoral autocracies and there are now 60 electoral autocracies, making it the most common regime type. 

India found itself in the category of the bottom 40% to 50% of countries. According to the report, most of the slide in India’s democratic credentials has occurred in the years following the consolidation of power by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after 2014. Among 179 countries, India ranked 93 in the Liberal Democracy Index, and 100 in the Electoral Democracy Index. 

The report said that anti-pluralist parties drive the autocratisation in at least six of the top 10 autocratisers – Brazil, Hungary, India, Poland, Serbia, and Turkey. It said, "Anti-pluralist parties and their leaders lack commitment to the democratic process, disrespect fundamental minority rights, encourage demonization of political opponents, and accept political violence. These ruling parties tend to be nationalist-reactionary and have used government power to push forward autocratic agendas." 

It pointed out that democracy is crucial for people enjoying good health and well-being and peace, justice, and strong institutions. "Democracies are much less likely to engage in war and civil war than autocracies," the report added, "as shown by the fact that after India turned into an electoral autocracy, the statistical odds of a militarized dispute with Pakistan are 3 times higher than 10 years ago." 

The report said that two states located in a region with low levels of democracy are 70% more likely to have a fatal armed conflict than a pair of states placed in a region with high levels. "However, new and weakly institutionalized democracies are also at high risk of civil war, with high-quality liberal democracies the by far the most peaceful," it said. 

“Like many other observers around the world, we are deeply concerned with the decline of democracy over the past decade. This year’s Democracy Report documents a continuation of that trend during 2021,” the V-Dem Institute’s team said.

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