India tumbles 10 points on democracy index

ISLAMABAD: The Economist has rated India 51st among 167 countries on its 2019 Democracy Index published Wednesday by the publication’s Intelligence Unit (EIU) marking a fall of 10 places from 2018. Citing the reasons behind the downward revision, The Economist said India’s latest rating came on the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 2019 move to strip occupied Kashmir’s special status, the exclusion of almost two million “mostly Muslim residents from a tally of native citizens—in effect removing their citizenship” through a controversial national register of citizens (NRC) in Assam, and the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The publication categorised India “the world’s biggest democracy” currently being ruled by a “Hindu-nationalist government” among the world’s “flawed democracies” and said it gave the country a rating of 6.90 out of 10 due to a “democratic regression [in] erosion of civil liberties”. India’s highest rating was 7.92 in 2014 but the latest one marks the lowest one since 2006. Demonstrators burn an effigy depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest against a new citizenship law outside Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi, India, December 16, 2019. “The passage by Parliament in December of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act suggests India’s decline will continue in the 2020 index,” The Economist added. “The new citizenship law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities.” The rating is based on 60 indicators in total. The situation in Kashmir remains concerning as there is a widespread communications blackout since over 100 days.