The economist intelligence unit’s latest report on “state of democracies around the world in 2018 “ holds up a mirror to democracies around the world. It classified the countries into four categories, namely – full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid democracies and authoritarian regimes. The parameters used are an electoral process, pulsation, civil liberties, functioning of the government, political participation and political culture.
India’s ranking is 41 out of 165 countries, marking it as a ‘ flawed democracy ‘ and highlighting its flaw from its best 27th rank. Reading between the lines, India presents a paradox.
India scores very high in terms of the electoral process and pluralism. Being the world’s largest democracy with its regional, linguistic, social diversity and election commissions in views successful in holding regular free and fair elections and smooth transfer of government power respecting to the electoral mandate. The vibrant multi-party system provides space for different interest and ideologies to participate in the electoral process.
Contrasting with this high standard is the less than perfect scenario in in-between elections. The public space for dissent is declining, The asset of social activists in Mumbai, the teem “ urban Naxals ”, the asset of journalist in Meghalaya for a social media post voicing dissent of Chief Minister’s policies are an example of this.
The functioning of government and political culture has been the erosion of tolerance. Respect for diversity. Growing instances of mob violence, lynching, low vigilantism highlights deteriorating law and order situation. Mob violence targeting in a police station in Bulandshar in UP marks serious lacunas in law and order situation. Political culture is also marked by distrust between the government and govern and lack of participatory approach. Recent protests surrounding citizenship Amendment Bill highlights public legislation of people’s demand. India thus presents a picture of contrast. It’s an electoral wonder, admitted by cities ray-payees alike for its strong institutions. The in-between election process betrays, however, a flawed democracy. There is a need to empower citizens on the one hand and make the government more accountable for its actions on the other