As the year 2022 starts, here's a look at India’s ranking in various global indexes
As the year 2022 starts, we take stock of India’s position on around 18 key indexes, which give a nation its status in the world, to see where we were, how far we have come or how far behind we fell
At the start of the year 2021, activist and former Amnesty India’s chief Aakar Patel wrote on Twitter, “Between 2014 and 2020 India fell on 40 indicators from the human development index to press freedom. There are no more indicators for India to fall on. But this year the fall will deepen. This is because the events of 2020 were not accommodated. Data is Modi’s enemy.”
As expected, India’s performance on various global indexes further fell during the year 2021. As we begin 2022, National Herald takes a stock of India’s position on around 18 key indexes, which give a nation its status in the world, to see where we were and how far we have come or how far behind we fell. We have also compared our position with the neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka. In cases where no report was published in 2021 we considered the latest available report and the data since 2019.
We found that India’s ranking declined on 10 out of the 18 Global Indexes. This includes the important ones like Human Development Index, Global Hunger Index, Freedom of Religion Report, Corruption Perception Index, Rule of Law Index, Education Expenditure, World Democracy Index, Economic Freedom Index, Global Peace Index, Global Right to Information Rating. While on 3 most important indexes, Global Gender Gap Report, Human Freedom Index, and World Press Freedom Index India’s position ‘severely declined’.
The ranking marginally improved by 2-3 places in 4 out of the 18 indexes which include Oxfam’s Commitment To Reduce Inequality, Global Climate Risk Index, World Happiness Report, and Fragile State Index. Despite marginal improvement, the average performance shows that India remains in critical position in these indexes. For example, the Fragile State Index has put India in the Elevated Warning category despite slight improvement.
One of the most shocking declines have been in the Global Gender Gap report prepared by World Economic Forum which benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. The 2020 report was the 14th edition in which India slipped to the 112th spot from its 108th position in 2018. The Index covered 153 countries. Nepal was at 110th position with gain of 4 places, Pakistan at 151st rank, falling 3 places, and Bangladesh at 50th rank falling 2 places from previous report. Top position was taken by Iceland and last was Yemen. This year India fell 28 steps and ranked at 140 registering a severe decline. India is doing better than Pakistan but much worse than Bangladesh in this Index.
The Human Freedom Index co‐published by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute is yet another significant Index in which India registered serious decline. It evaluates criteria such as personal, civil, and economic freedom, dignity of individuals and is defined as negative liberty or the absence of coercive constraint. In 2019 India ranked 94th. The 2020 report placed India at the 111th, a fall of 17 places. In the 2021 report, India fell 5 more spots and is now at 119th position, registering a total decline of 22 places in 3 years.
In the Press Freedom Index, India registered a shocking 60 places decline since this report was first published in 2002. The index evaluates criteria such as pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information. In the 2020 report India ranked 142 among 180 countries falling 2 places from 2019. There is no change since last report.
Remarkably, India is still among the world’s top 10 countries in the Global Right To Information Rating despite a fall of 4 places in the latest report published in 2018. This Index was created by created by Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) in 2011 when India made a debut at the second position. From being the second best, India slipped four positions in seven years, to settle at number at 6 in the 2018 report.
Another significant Index respected widely is the Human Development Index created by UNDP 30 years ago as a new way to conceive and measure progress. Key dimensions of human developments considered by the report are, a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living. In the latest available report India ranked at 131 falling 2 places from 129 in the previous report. Between 1990 to 2010 India had a sharp rise in the index, but the curve has been more or less flat since last 10 years. India, along with Pakistan and Bangladesh fall in the mid-development slab, with India doing slightly better however Bangladesh showing faster growth. Pakistan is at 153rd and Bangladesh at 133th position out of 189 countries.
Worryingly, India is performing worse than both Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. In the 2020 GHI report, India ranked at 94th among 132 countries assessed. On the severity scale India’s score was 27.2 placing it the serious hunger category. It was an improvement from 2019 report when India’s score was 30.3 placing India at 102nd position among 117 countries. Pakistan’s position last year was at 88th with a score of 24.6; Bangladesh was at 75th with score of 20.4; Nepal was at 73rd with score of 19.5 and only country among India's neighbours which was in moderate category in terms of severity; Sri Lanka at 64th with score of 16.3 making India the worst performing nation in South Asia except Afghanistan which is at 99th position. This year India fared worse than both Pakistan and Bangladesh and continues to have the worst hunger situation in South Asia except Afghanistan.
It is worth noting that amid the failing standards on important indexes which indicate that the government needs to invest more in health, education, gender empowerment etc India’s expenditure on Defence has been one of the highest in the world. India is among the top 5 biggest spender on Defence competing with Pakistan which is the top spender among South Asian countries.
Please see a full list of the Indexes below: