India drops 10 places in democracy index’s global ranking: Report

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at a rally in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Photograph by ANI

India has dropped 10 places in the Democracy Index’s global ranking to 51st place, Hindustan Times reported.

According to the report, the Democracy Index referred to the changes in Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam while describing what it said was the “democratic regression” in India, the world’s largest democracy.

“The Indian government stripped the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state of its special status by repealing two key constitutional provisions granting it powers of autonomy,” it said, referring to Article 370 of the Constitution and Article 35A, which prevented residents from other states from purchasing land or property in Kashmir.

“Following the removal of these provisions of the Constitution and the passage of a new Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019, J&K no longer enjoys statehood and is now divided into two union territories: one that retains the name Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh,” it said.

Ahead of the move, the government deployed a large number of troops in J&K, imposed various other security measures and placed local leaders under house arrest, including those with pro-India credentials. The government also restricted internet access in the state,” it added.

The Democracy Index noted that the “citizenship registration exercise” in Assam had “excluded 1.9m from the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC)”.

The Democracy Index – prepared by Economist Intelligence Unit, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group – provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.

It is based on electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government,political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

India’s overall score, on a scale of 0-10, fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in 2019, with the survey listing India among countries where there were “regressions”. In the Asia and Australia region, India ranked eighth, behind countries such as Timor-Leste, Malaysia and Taiwan.

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