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Democracy Index UPSC NOTE


  • Democracy is a system of government in which state power is vested in the people or the general population of a state. 

  • According to the United Nations, democracy "provides an environment that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in which the freely expressed will of people is exercised."

  • There are many approaches to measuring democracy, some using facts, some judgment and some a mix of both. 

  • The four broad types of data that these indices use are 

    • observational data (OD) which is data on observable facts, such as voter turnout rates;

    • ‘in-house’ coding, where researchers assess country-specific information using academic material, newspapers, etc.; 

    • expert surveys, where selected experts from a country provide a subjective evaluation; 

    • representative surveys, where a selected group of citizens offer judgments. 

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has endorsed the use of observational, objective data over judgment-based methodology for assessments to make them “more broadly acceptable.” 

  • Others, however, find fact-based metrics “insufficient”, and expert intervention necessary, to capture on-ground realities of governance.

  • Each index asks and responds to a different question evaluating the health of democracy

  • Some use only two indicators while others have more than 400; the weightage assigned and aggregation model followed also fluctuates across projects.

  • Regardless of the scholarly pool and aggregation model used, evaluations are still based on the judgment of researchers and coders, rather than tangible characteristics

  • Indices from various international firms have downgraded India’s democratic standing in recent years 

    • India as “one of the worst autocratisers”(V-Dem Institute), is only ‘partly free’ (Freedom House), is home to a “flawed democracy” (The Economist Intelligence Unit) and is better classified as an “electoral autocracy.” 

  • The Indian Government has however refuted these assessments. It now plans to release its own democracy index, which, according to Al Jazeera, will help India “counter recent downgrades in ratings and severe criticisms by international groups”.

  • The Indian Government has however refuted these assessments. 

  • Ahead of the election season, these indices and “negative commentary” by think tanks and agencies threaten India’s sovereign ratings and its ranking on the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators

  • India now plans to release its own democracy index, which will help India “counter recent downgrades in ratings and severe criticisms by international groups”.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Democracy Index UPSC NOTE
Democracy Index UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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