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Worlds Largest Democracy Downgraded: Free To Partly Free

India- the world’s largest democratic country, meaning the government in all its forms but especially the Union government is a strange creature. The Constitution of India was drafted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a majority rule government framework, influencing the nation's smooth progress towards turning into an autonomous republic.

India just this year commended its 72nd Republic Day this year in the consequence of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that has devasted the economy, obliterated the lives and occupations of crores of individuals. It is in name and forms a democracy, a vote-based system and even a liberal one. Liberal democracy is defined as:
a popularity-based arrangement of government in which individual rights and opportunities are formally perceived and ensured, and the activity of political force is restricted by law and order.

This is both valid and not valid for the Indian State. It is popularity based as in it is constrained by the ideological groups which are the political parties that are elected who are chosen for office for fixed terms. Individual rights and opportunities exist in principle however in huge measure don't exist actually. The privilege to vote one of the significant elements of democratic India stays unblemished till today while different parts of a flourishing democracy are risked particularly freedom.

The democratic system doesn't mean simply a political race or ability to choose to cast the vote but to have equivalent admittance to all chances, contest in an election, freedom of speech,  enjoying utmost freedom of expression and others unhampered. Be that as it may, those are a long way from reality today.

India was ranked as free in Freedom House's 2018, 2019 and 2020 surveys, although its 100-fold scores decreased from 77 to 71 during that time. In the most recent survey report, India had a ranking of 67 out of 100. The study entitled Freedom in the World 2021-Democracy under Siege said that India seems to have lost its ability to function as a global democratic king. It said that the dropping of India from the top ranks of free nations may have an especially devastating effect on global democratic values.

India's status declined from Free to Partly Free because of a multiyear design in which the Hindu patriot government and its partners have directed rising savagery and unfair approaches influencing the Muslim populace and sought after a crackdown on articulations of contradiction by the media, scholastics, common society gatherings, and nonconformists.

Although India remains a multi-party democracy, the government has retained control over repressive policies and escalated violence against the Muslim minority, and the persecution of journalists, non-governmental organizations and other government opponents has significantly increased.

Judicial integrity has also been strained; in one instance, a judge was moved only after the police had been reprimanded for taking no action during the New Delhi riots that left more than 50 people, mainly Muslims, dead, the survey report said. It also gave India a degrading review on the willingness of various groups of the population, including national, racial and religious minorities, to have maximum voting rights and electoral opportunities

Disputed territories are often measured separately if they follow certain conditions, including limits that are reasonably consistent to enable year-on-year comparisons, the study said.

Although the survey report gave India a high score for the ability to conduct free and fair elections with such avast population but expressed concern about ambiguous funding of political parties – especially through electoral bonds that enable donors to obscure their identities. Though political activity is generally free, Freedom House said, Some political leaders have tried to inflame communal conflicts to energize their followers.

India's Freedom Score the Internet has remained at 51. However, the study reported that 'Internet freedom in India has degraded sharply for the third straight year,' citing Internet shutdowns, censored video, misinformation circulated by political figures, cyberstalking, amendments to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy, concerted spyware campaigns and automated surveillance.

Another report from global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded India's sovereign rating to Baa3, which is still investment grade, and maintained its outlook as negative, citing sluggish changes, policymakers facing growing pressures from a sustained period of slower growth, rising government debt, and declining debt affordability and tension in the financial system.

The three farm laws that led to the ongoing protests of the farmers were passed by a circle in the Center without recognizing that agribusiness is a state subject under the constitution, and with no open discussion in parliament or conversations with the farmers' associations. Indira Gandhi's Emergency and Narendra Modi's demonetization are only barely any instances of such single-individual choices.

Indeed, even the leader of India the president was also not counselled previously making the draconian stride of demonetization. During the current pandemic period, rules around the world have gotten more tyrant. India is no exemption that threatens the survival of our fledgeling democracy. Indian Democracy isn't flourishing rather wilting.

Some incidents act as evidence to prove that India is now only partly free. The freedom of speech and expression is now restricted and the comments on government have been proved to be outside the purview. Castes have been blamed for spreading coronavirus across the country. Farmers have faces cruelty while fighting for their rights. Normal people have been considered terrorists for taking a stand for themselves.

The recession is growing fast and prices are being hyped. Development is taking place to such a limited extent that the poverty line is increasing. How can India be said to be free and a democratic country with such situations? Are people facing the problems by being prisoners of their democratic government? These incidents are just a gist, many others have not even been highlighted.

Written By: Chetna Alagh

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