The Human Freedom Index 2020, a worldwide ranking of civil, economic and personal freedom, released on Thursday, placed India at the 111th spot out of 162 countries. India ranked 94 on the index in 2019.
India is ahead of China and Bangladesh, which ranked 129 and 139 on the 2020 index respectively. New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong bagged the first three spots. Fred McMahon and Ian Vásquez, the authors of the report, said that they expected Hong Kong’s rank to decline in the future, because of China’s “aggressive interventions” in the region in 2019 and 2020. India’s scored 6.30 out of 10 in personal freedom and 6.56 in economic freedom. The country’s overall human freedom score was 6.43. The index was published by American think tank Cato Institute and Fraser Institute in Canada. It takes into account 76 indicators of personal, civil, and economic freedoms to rank 162 countries from 2008 to 2018. The institutes noted that the world has seen a notable decline in personal freedom since 2008.
The United States and United Kingdom are tied at the 17th spot on the index. War-torn Syria ranked the last on the list. The report said India had the most number of internet shutdowns in the world, even excluding the ones in Jammu and Kashmir. The Global Economic Freedom Index 2020 released in September showed India dropping 26 spots from 79 to 105. The report also mentioned that the scope of improvement in economic freedom in the country depended on the next generation reforms in factor markets and in being more open to global trade. In the World Press Freedom Index, which was released in April, India slipped two places to 142 out of the 180 countries and territories.