India’s rank in the global Democracy Index by The Economist Intelligence Unit slipped two places to 53rd position. According to the EIU, the authorities’ “democratic backsliding” and “crackdowns” on civil liberties caused India’s fall in the global index. However, India’s rank is much better than its neighbouring countries.

In 2019, India’s overall score in the index was 6.9, which reduced to 6.61 this year. The country’s rank was 51st last year. As many as 167 countries feature in the list.

“With mounting pressure on India’s democratic norms, India’s score fell from a peak of 7.92 in 2014 to 6.61 in 2020 and its global ranking slipped from 27th (in 2014) to 53rd as a result of democratic backsliding,” the EIU said.

Norway was on the top of the Democracy Index that came with a title “Democracy in sickness and in health?” Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada were the next countries in the top five.

Out of 167, as many as 23 countries were classified as full democracies and 52 as flawed democracies. While 35 were in hybrid regimes category, 57 countries came under authoritarian regimes. India came under the category of ‘flawed democracy’ along with the US, Belgium, France and Brazil.

The EIU compared India with Thailand, saying: “democratic backsliding by the authorities and crackdowns on civil liberties led to a further decline in their global rankings”.

The report by the EIU further alleged that the Indian government had “introduced a religious element to the conceptualisation of Indian citizenship, a step that many critics see as undermining the secular basis of the Indian state”.

“The authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic led to a further erosion of civil liberties in 2020,” the report said.