The ‘democracy report’ by the V-Dem Institute puts India in the league of countries like Brazil, Poland, the US and Hungary who have seen significant slides into authoritarianism. India is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy due to the severely
shrinking of space for the media, civil society, and the opposition under
Prime Minister Modi’s government.
The report, which has gained traction on social media now, was originally published in March 2020, just as the peaceful anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across India were forced to withdraw from the streets and move online due to restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not take into account fresh human rights violations and further attacks on press freedom during the lockdown and afterwards, or the numerous cases filed against anti-CAA protestors in recent months.
Major pillars of Indian democracy, including parliamentary procedures, the removal of question hour in houses of parliament, and the independence of the judiciary have come into question in the time that has passed since the publishing of the report.
This is not the first time India’s democracy has been called into question by an international watchdog. For instance, in the 2019 Democracy Index released this January, India slipped by 10 ranks to the 51st position – a big downgrade. The report was prepared by the intelligence unit of The Economist Group.
The Index categorised India under “flawed democracies” which is defined as countries that hold free and fair elections and where basic civil liberties are respected, but have significantly weak governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.
As published in the The Wire. Available here: https://thewire.in/rights/india-democracy-shrinking-media-v-dem-report
The full report Autocratization Surges – Resistance Grows, Democracy Report 2020 can be read here: https://www.v-dem.net/media/filer_public/de/39/de39af54-0bc5-4421-89ae-fb20dcc53dba/democracy_report.pdf