DESPARDES — The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest Democracy Index published today indicates how global democracy fared in 2019, providing a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide.
In South Asia, India’s global ranking dropped ten places to 51st place. The primary cause for the drop, the report pointed out, was ‘an erosion of civil liberties in the country’.
Two moves PM Modi made – the curtailing of civil rights in occupied Kashmir following the unilateral removal of the disputed territory’s autonomy and the introduction of laws to redefine who is and isn’t a citizen – exposed his right-wing government’s disregard for both basic freedoms and democratic norms.
The report also highlighted the Indian government’s controversial move to introduce the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which has already sparked widespread protests in various Indian cities.
“The vast majority of people excluded from the NRC are Muslims,” it noted along with critics’ concerns that the exercise will lead to ‘demographic changes along religious lines’. “The new citizenship law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities,” the report further stressed.
Pakistan, meanwhile, showed some improvement on the 2019 Democracy Index and like the previous year, it was still classified as a ‘hybrid regime’.
Both India and Pakistan are shown as ‘hybrid regime’.
The index classifies hybrid regimes as “nations with regular electoral frauds, preventing them from being fair and free democracy.”
The report says 2019 was a year of democratic setbacks and popular protests. “The Democracy Index recorded the worst average global score since 2006.”