India Slips 10 Spots to Rank 42 on Global Democracy Index

first_imgIndia has been ranked 42nd, 10 spots down from last year, on the recently-released Global Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). India remains classified under “flawed democracies,” and the slide in the ranking has been attributed to the “rise of conservative religious ideologies” in the country.“The rise of conservative religious ideologies also affected India. The strengthening of right-wing Hindu forces in an otherwise secular country led to a rise of vigilantism and violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, as well as other dissenting voices,” the EIU, the research and analysis division of the UK-based media giant the Economist Group, said, PTI reported.The index also gauged media freedom and noted that Indian media was “partially free.” It said: “India has also become a more dangerous place for journalists, especially the central state of Chhattisgarh and the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The authorities there have restricted freedom of the press, closed down several newspapers and heavily controlled mobile internet services. Several journalists were murdered in India in 2017, as in the previous year.”The report has ranked 165 countries and two territories on these five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. India scored well on electoral process and pluralism, while it did not do too well in political culture, functioning of government, political participation and civil liberties.After the ranking, the countries have been divided into four categories — full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime. The top 19 countries belong to the category of full democracies. Along with India, other flawed democracies are the United States, Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong.The United States was demoted from a full democracy to a flawed democracy in 2016. Almost one-third of the world’s population is under an authoritarian regime, EIU observed.The top three positions have been occupied by Norway, Iceland and Sweden, respectively. Norway has the perfect 10 scores for electoral process, pluralism, political participation and political culture.The rest of the top 10 countries include New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and Switzerland.The EIU was established in 1946 and helps businesses, financial firms and governments to understand how the world is changing and how that creates opportunities to be seized and risks to be managed. Related ItemsSocietylast_img read more

UK Home Office Suspends Immigration Scrutiny on Bank Accounts

first_imgThe UK Home Office has suspended immigration checks on thousands of banks accounts in the wake of immigration scandals such as the Windrush controversy that hit the UK government recently, the Guardian reported.The checks were suspended temporarily, according to a Home Office spokeswoman, the report said. “It is vital that the compliant environment protects vulnerable people and appropriate safeguards are built into the measures. However, after careful consideration we have decided to temporarily reduce the scope of the checks being carried out on bank accounts,” the spokeswomen was quoted as saying by the publication. She added that the measure was taken so no one is inadvertently disadvantaged by measures put in place to tackle illegal migration.The Home Office is now in the process of getting in touch with banks and building societies to give them instructions about reducing the scope of the checks. The checks were introduced as part of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategies for creation of a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, the report added.UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on May 15 informed the UK Home Affairs Committee that banks were given instructions at the beginning of the year to ensure that the accounts of “thousands” of people the Home Office had incorrectly identified as illegal migrants to be closed. However, he has now asked the banks to suspend the measure over fears that many people who have been living legally in the United Kingdom may have been targeted incorrectly.“What I have asked officials to do is to contact those banks again and tell them not to go ahead with that until I am more comfortable that we have got it right,” Javid said, Sky News reported. He added that thousands of letters were sent to banks about individuals who the Home Office believed were illegal migrants.“I understand, if I have the dates right, at the start of this year; again, I do not have the number – letters in the thousands were sent to banks on individuals where the department believes they are illegal migrants and to close their bank accounts,” Javid said.According to powers introduced in January this year under the 2016 Immigration Act, banks were required to check the identity of each current account holder against a Home Office-supplied database. In instances where it was suspected that an account was being used by an undocumented immigrants, the Home Office would review it before it asked the bank to take the necessary step which included closing the account.“The Tories seem to be attempting a panicked and piece-meal retreat from their own immigration policy. However, this temporary U-turn applies to just one element of their hostile environment, when the policy as a whole must be ended permanently,” shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was quoted as saying by the Guardian. Related ItemsSajid JavidUnited Kingdomlast_img read more