India slipped to the 119th position in the Human Freedom Index Report 2021 of 165 countries and India ranked in Human freedom 6.39 and Personal freedom 6.20 and Economic freedom at 6.66
Over the decades, India witnessed growth in various sectors, but the growth over these years cannot be regarded enough for contesting India in the realms of being a superpower. Being a superpower means possessing an ability to exert influence on others. Although China is one of the largest economies in the world and possesses one of the most powerful military bases in the world, we should note that China is a political superpower and the world is yet not ready to accept any of China’s resolutions and suggestions on key political decisions, especially countries that likely uphold their civil liberties and human rights, and countries that are struggling to find the accord. Influencing other countries in the domains of economy, diplomacy, military, and technology can make a country assert its strength through a geopolitical and geoeconomics domain, but yet these factors can likely also state that economic and political power alone is not always empowering. Recognizing the dignity and liberty of civilians, a country’s progress can likely be determined as we saw in Scandinavian countries. Human freedom is an inherently valuable social concept.
The Human Freedom Index 2021 presents the state of human freedom in the world based on measures that encompass personal, civil, and economic freedom, rule of law, security and safety, movement, religion, association, assembly and civil society, expression and information, relationships, size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulations. The index is an important resource measured by the Cato Institute (America) and Fraser Institute (Canada). for observing the relationship between freedom and other social constructs that govern a society.
Deterioration of human freedom in India
The 11-year-old Human Freedom Index released its latest 2019 report at the end of 2021, which based its findings on pre-pandemic research. This was calculated based on surveys conducted worldwide, including India. India might drop its ranking even worse if they included human freedom abuses in India during covid.
In the 2020 report, the country was at the 111th out of 162 positions but now has fallen behind its South Asian counterparts and other countries such as Singapore (48), Timor-Leste (78), Malaysia (82), Nepal (84), Indonesia (85), Thailand (96), Bhutan (98), Philippines (101) and Sri Lanka (112), Cambodia (115), Brunei Darussalam (116). Apart from that, South Asian countries have achieved better growth in human freedom than the previous report, but India has been declining its position than the previous report.
Overall, Personal Freedom in India has performed on the various areas followingly:
The Top 5 Human Freedom countries in the world are Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Estonia, and Ireland in the world while the Syrian Arab Republic, Egypt, Venezuela, Yemen, Sudan are ranked as the worst in the human freedom index.
India’s performance in the human freedom index covers many aspects and how India is performing in most important aspects such as religious freedom, women’s freedom, security and safety, rule of law, media, civil society, civil liberties. Article 25-28 of the Indian Constitution explicitly protects and upholds religious freedom and free societies respect the right to practice a religion of one’s choosing. The exercise of religion can be both a supremely private matter involving a person’s strongest beliefs and a social affair practiced in an organized way among larger groups. Over the past seven years, religious discrimination, repression, and intolerance of social dissent have reached their peak. In some states, there have been growing indicators of Hindu bigotry and bigotry over religious freedom and institutions.
According to the HFI report, women-specific freedoms in India are measured by five indicators, and their rights, equality, and liberty are at least protected. We are one of the few countries in the world to have the lowest level of women’s rights. India is suffering from the scorn of a lethal pandemic, insecurity from economic and political decisions, and vastly struggling to sustain the losses envisaged from the decline in democracy. All around we are seeing violations of democratic rights and liberties which are increasing at an alarming rate, thereby creating a divergence between the classes of citizens in the country.
Equality in decision making, economic and social freedom, equal access to education, and right to practice an occupation of one’s choice are important aspects contributing to a freedom index. Unfortunately, India has grown averse to rationalizing gender equality these days. Approximately 48.04 percent of the country’s population still does not have equal access to the constitutional rights of women. Crimes continue to occur against women in our country. Despite the existence of women’s safety laws, the failure of the judiciary to make sure that justice is done to them in a timely manner is evident.
The report said the Journalistic freedom in India has been on the decline with many incidents of harassment of journalists, including threats of lethal beatings and government attempts to censor print and broadcast media (government censorship effort) and the internet.
India is suffering from the scorn of a lethal pandemic, insecurity from economic and political decisions, and vastly struggling to sustain the losses envisaged from the decline in democracy. All around we are seeing violations of democratic rights and liberties which are increasing at an alarming rate, thereby creating a divergence between the classes of citizens in the country.
Furthermore, Indian politicians and parties lack the conviction to make progress possible even though they promise to achieve miracles while coming to power. The contest between liberty and power is an ongoing contract that is witnessed through the historical purviews across millennia. For just as long, it has inspired competing conceptions of freedom. In our country, people are becoming victims of power politics games and are contributing towards indiscriminately promises to win elections. The relationship between vote and society has broken and the notion that whoever wins is the same remains in the minds of the people. This is making to forego the possibility of taking a poor country like ours towards development.
In fact, the work that the government needs to do today is to provide quality education, health, employment skills, job creation, infrastructure, agrarian, legal, police reform, decentralization of power to local governments as well as an end to corruption in all systems. Moreover, it should ensure constitutional rights of equal rights and dignified lives for all. These specify the changes to be made in.
Therefore, one can conclude that human freedom is essential for any country or society to embrace progress and provide an opportunity for future generations to experience and enjoy better freedom and prosperity.