Democracy Index, 2017 : Important Topics for UPSC Exams

Democracy Index, 2017 : Important Topics for UPSC Exams

Why in News?

  • India has been classified among “flawed democracies” with 42nd rank on the Democracy Index and it has moved down from 32nd place last year.

About the Index

  • It is the index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which is the research and analysis division of The Economist (UK- based media group).

  • EIU was founded in 1946.

  • EIU provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, country risk service reports, five-year country economic forecasts, and industry reports etc.

  • Report included 167 countries which scored on a scale of 0 to 10 based on 60 indicators.

The Democracy Index is calculated on the basis of following five categories:

  1. Electoral process and pluralism.

  2. The functioning of government

  3. Civil liberties.

  4. Political participation; and

  5. Political culture.

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Based on their scores on 60 indicators within the above 5 categories, each country is then classified as one of four types of following regimes:

  1. Full democracy;

  2. Flawed democracy;

  3. Hybrid regime;

  4. Authoritarian regime.

Findings of the Report

  • Norway has topped the list, with an overall score of 9.87.

  • Norway got perfect-ten scores for political participation, electoral process and pluralism; and political culture. Norway was followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark.

  • China (139th), Myanmar (120th), Russia (135th) and Vietnam (140th) include those named as ‘authoritarian regimes’.

  • Syria was ranked at 166th place while North Korea ranked at 167th, the lowest.

  • ‘Flawed democracies’- US (ranked at 21st), Japan, Italy, Israel, Singapore, France, and Hong Kong.

  • Full democracies- Top 19 countries has been classified as full democracies.

  • Hybrid regimes- Bangladesh (92nd), Nepal (94th) and Bhutan (99th), Pakistan (110th).

  • China (139th), Myanmar (120th), Russia (135th) and Vietnam (140th) has been named as ‘authoritarian regimes’.

Democracy and the World

  • Only 4.5% population reside in a “full democracy”, down from 8.9% in 2015 as the US got demoted from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” in 2016 although almost one-half (49.3%) of the world’s population lives in a democracy of some type.

  • With a large share being in China, around one-third of the world’s population lives under authoritarian rule.

India and the Democracy Index

  • Even though India scored well on electoral process and pluralism (9.17), India’s overall score has fallen to 7.23 points as India has not managed to score so well on other four parameters—political culture, functioning of government, political participation and civil liberties.

  • Increase in vigilantism, Rise of conservative religious ideologies and violence against minorities as well as other dissenting voices affected India’s ranking.

  • State of media freedom around the world was also measured in this year’s report. Report noted that in India, journalists are at risk from government, military and non-state actors and radical groups, media is ‘partially free’.

Causes of Concern

  • The worst decline in global democracy in years has been recorded by the latest Democracy Index records as not a single region registered an improvement in its average score since 2016, reason being the countries struggled with increasingly divided electorates.

  • Freedom of expression which is a special focus of this year's report is facing new challenges from both state and non-state actors.

  • In the 2017 Democracy Index, the average global score on a scale of 0 to 10 fell from 5.52 in 2016 to 5.48 and compared with 2016, 89 countries experienced a decline in their total score, 27 recorded an improvement while the remaining 51 countries didn’t see any change in their scores compared with 2016.


Q. According to the latest Democracy Index what is the rank of India?





Answer- B 

Q. Do you think Democracy is the best form of Government? How democracies are performing at International Level. Substantiate your views with the help of findings from latest Democracy Index?

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