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V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report 2024

Why is it in the news?

  • India, previously labeled an “electoral autocracy” in 2018, has deteriorated on various indicators, now recognized as one of the “worst autocratisers”, as per the ‘Democracy Report 2024’ by the V-Dem Institute.
  • The report tracks democratic freedoms globally by categorizing countries into four regime types based on their scores in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI).
  • The report is a collaborative project involving 4,200 scholars from 180 countries, based on 31 million datasets covering 202 countries from 1789 to 2023.

Global Trends

  • In 2023, 42 countries, home to 35% of the world’s population, were undergoing autocratisation.
  • Democratisation was observed in only 18 countries, accounting for 5% of the world’s population.
  • The majority of the world’s population, 71%, lives in autocracies, indicating a significant increase from 48% a decade ago.
  • Freedom of expression, clean elections, and freedom of association/civil society are the most affected components of democracy in autocratising countries.
  • The autonomy of electoral management bodies has substantially weakened in 22 of the 42 autocratising countries.
  • In 2024, more than half of the 60 countries going to the polls are experiencing democratic decline.
  • Elections in autocratising countries can either trigger democratisation, enable further autocratisation, or stabilize autocratic regimes, making 2024 a critical year for democracy globally.

India Specific

  • South and Central Asia, including India, witnessed significant regression in liberal democracy, comparable to levels seen in 1975 during the state of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi.
  • India falls into the category of an electoral autocracy, where multiparty elections coexist with insufficient levels of basic requisites such as freedom of expression.
  • India’s autocratisation process has seen a deterioration of freedom of expression, media independence, and attacks on civil society and journalists critical of the government.

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