V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024

The V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024 has once again categorized India as an electoral autocracy, with the country’s democracy scores continuing to fall across various components. The report, titled “Democracy Winning and Losing at the Ballot,” highlights India’s ongoing autocratization process and its position among the top 10 standalone autocratizers in 2023.

India’s Decline from Democracy to Electoral Autocracy

According to the report, India dropped down to the status of an electoral autocracy in 2018 and has remained in this category through the end of 2023. The report notes that eight out of ten countries in the top 10 standalone autocratizers group were democracies before the start of autocratization. Democracy broke down in six of those eight cases, including India, while only Greece and Poland remain democracies as of 2023. The report cites a recent study showing that 80% of democracies break down if they start autocratizing.

Deterioration of Freedom of Expression and Media Independence

The V-Dem Institute’s report documents India’s autocratization process, highlighting the gradual but substantial deterioration of freedom of expression, compromised media independence, crackdowns on social media, and harassment of journalists critical of the government. The report also points to attacks on civil society and the intimidation of the opposition as contributing factors to India’s declining democracy scores.

BJP Government’s Role in Suppressing Dissent

The report specifically mentions the role of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in using laws on sedition, defamation, and counterterrorism to silence critics. The BJP government is also accused of undermining the constitution’s commitment to secularism by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2019.

Suppression of Religious Freedom and Academic Dissent

The Modi-led government is reported to continue suppressing the freedom of religion rights, while intimidation of political opponents and people protesting government policies has become prevalent. The report also highlights the silencing of dissent in academia as a concerning trend in India’s autocratization process.

Implications for the 2024 Elections

With India set to hold general elections in 2024, the V-Dem Institute’s report raises concerns about the potential impact of the country’s ongoing autocratization on the democratic process. The report suggests that a third consecutive term for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi could lead to further autocratization, given the already substantial democratic decline under Modi’s leadership and the enduring crackdown on minority rights and civil society.

India’s Position in the Global Context

The V-Dem Institute’s report places India’s autocratization in a global context, noting that 42 countries, home to 35% of the world’s population, were undergoing autocratization in 2023. India, with 18% of the world’s population, accounts for about half of the population living in autocratizing countries. In contrast, democratization was taking place in only 18 countries, accounting for just 5% of the world’s population.

The V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024 paints a grim picture of India’s democratic decline, categorizing the country as an electoral autocracy for the sixth consecutive year. The report’s findings underscore the need for a renewed commitment to democratic principles and the protection of civil liberties in India to reverse the country’s ongoing autocratization process. As per the 2022 report, India was among the top 10 autocratising countries of the world along with El Salvador, Turkey, and Hungary.


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1 Comment

  1. Sanjib

    March 15, 2024 at 7:54 am

    Dear V-Dem Institute, I just wanted to remind you that you are just one part of a larger toolkit. who is trying to defame our Bharat. Your toolkit panel can not succeed in your anti-India propaganda.

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