India rated as an “electoral autocracy” by V-Dem Institute

What is the News?

Sweden-based Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute released a report titled “Autocratisation Goes Viral”. The report has downgraded India from being an “electoral democracy” to an “electoral autocracy”.

Note: This report comes after US watchdog Freedom House has downgraded India’s status to “partly free” in its ‘Freedom in the World’ report.

 About the Autocratisation Goes Viral Report:
  • Released by: V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) Institute. It is an independent research organization founded in 2014 by Swedish political scientist Staffan Lindberg.
  • Objective: The report summarizes the state of democracies of the world against the backdrop of developments, over the past decade.
  • Data: The report gathered its data using surveys from country experts and then analysed using a statistical model.
Key Findings Related to India:
  • India is rated as autocratic along with Pakistan. It is a poor rating than both its neighbors Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • India is also among 25 “autocratizing nations” along with Brazil, Turkey, and other countries.
Reasons for the downgrading of India:
  • Frequent use of defamation(Section 499) and Sedition(Section 124-A) to silence journalists and critics.
  • Use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) to place constraints on civil society.
  • The passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 to grant citizenship based on religious lines.
  • Increased use of Foreign Contributions Regulation Act(FCRA) to restrict the entry, exit, and functioning of Civil Society Organisations(CSO).
  • In general, the report mentions National Security laws are getting misused in India.
Other key Global Findings:
  • The liberal democracies have reduced over the past decade from 41 countries to 32 countries.
  • The global decline during the past decade is increasing especially in the Asia-Pacific region, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Source: The Hindu


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