The 2023 Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) report has shed light on the current state of democracy across the globe, including India. According to the report, India’s democracy has shown a decline in recent years, with an overall score of 0.48 in 2021, down from 0.68 in 2013 which has fallen even further in 2023 .
The report has highlighted the factors contributing to this decline and provided insights into potential solutions to strengthen democracy in India.
The largest worldwide dataset on democracy, according to V-Dem, spanning 202 nations between 1789 and 2022 was deployed for the report . It claims to measure “hundreds of distinct qualities of democracy” using more than 31 million data points from over 4,000 academics and national experts.
India was placed 108th in the world by V-Dem for electoral democracy, behind nations like Tanzania, Bolivia, Mexico, Singapore, and Nigeria. Yet, according to its research, the autocratization process has “slowed down or halted” in India, Hungary, Serbia, Thailand, and Turkey.
Factors contributing to decline:
The report cited several factors contributing to the decline in India’s democracy, including a rise in populism and a decrease in civil liberties. It also highlighted the erosion of democratic norms and the growing influence of money and politics, as well as increased polarisation and a decline in the quality of elections.
The impact of COVID-19:
The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on democracy were also examined in detail in the V-Dem study. It was discovered that several nations, notably India, had used the outbreak as justification for restricting access to information and limiting human liberties.
According to the research, India’s reaction to the pandemic has made clear the need for more robust democratic institutions and improved information availability to counter the spread of misinformation.
The V-Dem report provides several potential solutions for strengthening democracy in India, including the need for a more independent judiciary and media, greater transparency in government decision-making, and stronger protections for civil liberties.
The report also suggests that strengthening local governance and increasing citizen participation in decision-making processes could help promote democracy in India.
The 2023 V-Dem report highlights the challenges facing democracy in India and provides important insights into potential solutions to strengthen it. It emphasises the need for greater transparency, stronger democratic institutions, and a renewed commitment to protecting civil liberties.
The report’s findings should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers and citizens alike, highlighting the urgent need to address these challenges and work towards a more vibrant and inclusive democracy in India.