Home   »   Ranks & Reports   »   V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024: India's...

V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024: India’s Decline into Electoral Autocracy

The V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024 highlights India’s continued descent into electoral autocracy since its downgrade in 2018. The report underscores the deterioration of democratic principles, particularly in the areas of freedom of expression, media independence, and civil liberties. India’s status as one of the top standalone autocracies further accentuates the gravity of its democratic decline.

Deterioration of Freedom of Expression and Media Independence

  • Freedom of Expression: The report documents a substantial decline in freedom of expression across India, with restrictions on dissenting voices and increased censorship stifling democratic discourse.
  • Media Independence: The independence of media outlets has been compromised, with instances of government pressure, harassment of journalists critical of the regime, and crackdowns on social media platforms.

Attacks on Civil Society and Opposition

  • Civil Society: Civil society organizations face intimidation and restrictions, impeding their ability to operate freely and advocate for democratic values.
  • Opposition: The opposition experiences harassment and suppression tactics, limiting their capacity to function as a check on government power.

India’s Descent into Electoral Autocracy

  • Classification Shift: India’s transition to an electoral autocracy signifies a departure from robust democratic principles, with multiparty elections coexisting amidst significant deficiencies in fundamental rights and electoral integrity.
  • Historical Parallels: The erosion of liberal democracy in India parallels historical lows, reminiscent of the authoritarian measures witnessed during the state of emergency in 1975 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Top 10 Rapidly Autocratising Countries:

  1. India: With its substantial population and democratic history, India’s descent into electoral autocracy signifies a significant challenge to democratic norms and institutions.
  2. Mexico: Despite its democratic strides, Mexico faces challenges with corruption, political violence, and a weakened rule of law, contributing to its classification as an autocratising country.
  3. South Korea: Once hailed for its democratic progress, South Korea grapples with issues of political polarization, media manipulation, and executive overreach, leading to concerns over democratic backsliding.
  4. Indonesia: The world’s fourth-most populous country, Indonesia, faces obstacles in consolidating democratic gains, with instances of religious intolerance, human rights abuses, and erosion of press freedom.
  5. Myanmar: Despite a brief period of democratic transition, Myanmar has regressed into military rule, marked by a violent crackdown on dissent and the erosion of civil liberties.
  6. Pakistan: Endemic corruption, political instability, and military influence characterize Pakistan’s democratic landscape, contributing to its classification as an autocratizing nation.
  7. The Philippines: Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, The Philippines has witnessed a deterioration of democratic institutions, marked by extrajudicial killings, attacks on the media, and the undermining of judicial independence.
  8. Greece: A member of the European Union, Greece’s democratic backsliding raises concerns within the bloc, with challenges including corruption, polarization, and a weakening of democratic norms.
  9. Hungary: Orbán’s government in Hungary has been criticized for undermining democratic institutions, eroding media freedom, and concentrating power in the hands of the ruling party.
  10. Poland: The ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland has implemented controversial judicial reforms, triggering concerns over the rule of law, democratic erosion, and EU sanctions.

About V-Dem

  • Foundation: Established in 2014 by Staffan Lindberg, a Swedish political scientist.
  • Mission: The V-Dem Institute focuses on studying the qualities of government, offering high-profile datasets publicly available for free.
  • Headquarters: Based at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

About Democracy Report

  • Publication: Annually released in March, the report classifies countries into four regime types based on the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI).
  • Indices Considered: The LDI encompasses 71 indicators measuring liberal and electoral aspects of democracy, including the Liberal Component Index (LCI) and the Electoral Democracy Index (EDI).
  • Coverage: The report involves 4,200 scholars from 180 countries, analyzing data from 1789 to 2023 to evaluate the state of democracy worldwide.

Key Findings of Democracy Report 2024

  • Global Trends: In 2023, 42 countries experienced autocratization, with 71% of the world’s population residing in autocracies, marking a significant increase from a decade ago.
  • Regional Dynamics: Eastern Europe and South/Central Asia witnessed the sharpest decline in democracy, contrasting with positive trends observed in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Components of Decline: Freedom of expression, clean elections, and freedom of association/civil society emerged as the most affected components in autocratizing countries.
  • Election Outlook: Out of 60 countries holding elections in 2024, more than half (31) were experiencing democratic decline, indicating a concerning trend in electoral integrity and democratic health.

V-Dem Institute's Democracy Report 2024: India's Decline into Electoral Autocracy_4.1