Global State of Democracy Report, 2021


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global State of Democracy Report, 2021

Mains level : Decline of Democracy

The number of countries moving towards authoritarianism in 2020 was higher than that of countries going in the other direction, towards democracy, a/c to the Global State of Democracy (GSD) Report, 2021.

Note: The Global Democracy Index is released by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU). One may get confused over this two.

About GSD Report

  • The GSD report is released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International-IDEA).
  • The International-IDEA, is an inter-governmental organization supporting democracy, is chaired by Australia and includes India as a member-state.
  • The report aims to influence the global debate and analyses current trends and challenges to democracy, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • It offers specific policy recommendations to spark new and innovative thinking for policymakers, governments and civil society organizations supporting democracy.

GSD framework

Highlights of the report

  • The US and three members of the European Union (EU) [Hungary, Poland and Slovenia] have also seen concerning democratic declines.
  • The pandemic has prolonged this existing negative trend into a five-year stretch, the longest such period since the start of the third wave of democratization in the 1970s.
  • Democratically elected Governments, including established democracies, are increasingly adopting authoritarian tactics.
  • This democratic backsliding has often enjoyed significant popular support.

India’s performance

  • The report highlighted the case of Brazil and India as “some of the most worrying examples of backsliding.
  • India is the backsliding democracy with the most democratic violations during the pandemic.
  • Violations include- Harassment, arrests and prosecution of human rights defenders, activists, journalists, students, academics and others critical of the government or its policies; internet obstructions etc.

Resilient democracies

  • The report pointed out that many democracies had proved to be resilient to the pandemic.
  • Despite pandemic restrictions on campaigning and media, the electoral component of democracy has shown remarkable resilience.
  • Countries around the world learned to hold elections in exceedingly difficult conditions and they rapidly activated special voting arrangements to allow citizens to continue exercising their democratic rights.

Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.

–  Jawaharlal Nehru

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