At the end of each year, development indices released by think-tanks and international organizations are a great way to understand the performance of a country in a certain field by comparison to other countries in the world. How has India performed in 2020? Our Prime Minister claims that India’s repute only increases internationally under the Bharatiya Janata Party but how do the indices rank us and what do these low/high rankings entail?
This index is reported every year by Reporters Without Borders, an “international non-profit and non-governmental organization that safeguards the right to freedom of information.” Since 2002, it measures the evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative protection, and protection of journalists.
India has been ranked at 142 this year, dropping two places from 140. This is an abysmally low rating on press freedom for a country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy.
Reporter’s Without Borders justifies this rating stating that “there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials. Ever since the general elections in the spring of 2019, won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line has increased.”
It also cites the government’s occupation of Kashmir and the harassment of journalists there as a reason for the low rating.
The World Happiness Report was a landmark in 2012 as it was the first of its kind to measure an emotion such as happiness and well-being as a precursor for economic development instead of statistics and GDP’. Using a wide variety of data including the Gallup World Poll, the 8th World Happiness Report measured 156 countries for their happiness.
India, once again, achieved a very dismal rank at 144, making it one of the unhappiest countries in the world. Perhaps the reasoning for this low ranking can be seen in the fact the happiest countries are those where people feel a sense of belonging and trust and enjoy each other and their shared institutions, as a statement by one of the authors John Helliwell states.
Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see why under BJP’s communal hate-driven rule built on criminalizing and otherizing minorities, India has performed so abysmally in this Index.
An effort by the organization Transparency International, the Global Corruption Barometer is a public opinion survey on corruption, seeing whether people have paid a bribe and what they feel about government efforts to tackle corruption and its effectiveness. India performed abysmally and was shown to be the most corrupt nation in Asia. A stark indictment of Modi’s claims to make the country corruption-free in his reign.
The Corruption Perception Index similarly ranks how corrupt the Public sector is through expert and business opinions. India is ranked at 80 out of 198 countries going down two places from its 2018 ranking. While this is not as low as other neighbours as the Global Corruption Barometer, it is still extremely bad. This is because of the countries India states to be at a level with, in terms of economy and governance.
The Global Peace Index is put together by the Institute For Economics And Peace. As the name suggests it measures the peacefulness in 163 countries. India ranks 139th, lower than Myanmar, and just 24 positions from the lowest country which is Afghanistan. Having the largest militarized area in the world, Kashmir, and the continuous use of the army in the North-East along with police brutality at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party are all reasons for this low ranking.
In conclusion, if these rankings are anything go by, India is not anywhere in the position that it claims to be internationally. Our administration is one that simultaneously says that they have international approval but bounces any and all criticism saying international leaders and groups are “misinformed”. Drastic changes and radical reforms are the need of the hour to improve India’s abysmal performance in these indices, and make it a better country for ALL who live in it.