08 January 2013
New Delhi: India may be the world's largest democracy, but it fares abysmally poorly in a human freedom development index brought out by two international institutes.
According to Canada's leading public policy think-tank Fraser Institute and Germany's Liberales Institut, India "does very poorly" on safety and security -- a key ingredient in maintaining personal freedom and a significant factor in economic growth.
While India ranks 92nd among 123 countries ranked in the most complete index of human freedom yet available, New Zealand leads in human freedom, followed by the Netherlands and Hong Kong with the US and Denmark tied at seventh spot.
The index is part of a new book, Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom, which examines the characteristics of "freedom" and how it can best be measured and compared between different nations.
"India's position on the index is quite worrying. Contrary to what we might predict, India's score on personal freedom is 5.6 and that on economic freedom is 6.48 - making the overall score 6.06 on a ten-point scale," the Centre for Civil Society said in a release here.
India does particularly poorly on measurement of freedom of expression, which creates a score based on freedom of speech, laws and regulations that influence media content, political pressures and controls on media content and dress code in public etc, it says.
Incidentally, India's neighbour Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar are among the lowest-ranked countries in the human freedom index. Other countries in this bracket are Zimbabwe and war-torn Syria.
"Our intention is to measure the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties - freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly - in each country surveyed. We also look at indicators of crime and violence, freedom of movement, legal discrimination against homosexuals, and women's freedoms," said Fred McMahon of Fraser Institute and editor of the book.