India is making progress on the openness of its government but it needs to improve security and reduce political violence, a new report on the rule of law says.
The latest “Rule of Law Index,” released Thursday by World Justice Project, a Washington-based nonprofit, ranks India 66th among 113 countries.
The report, based on a survey of 1,000 people and local experts, looked into Indians’ dealings with their government, the police, courts and other state institutions in their day-to-day lives.
Compared with the same countries included in the study last year, India’s rank improved three places in 2016. However, once 11 more countries were added for this year’s survey, India slipped seven places to 66th. The 2016 survey compared 113 countries over six subject areas, including “constraints on government power,” “order and security” and “fundamental rights,” among others.India’s average score for “open government” improved from 0.53 in 2014 to 0.66 in 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made communication with citizens a priority, launching the engagement portal mygov.in in 2014, which allows citizens to make suggestions on key government programs.
India also scored better than last year in “constraints on government powers”–measuring the effectiveness of institutional checks on government power by the legislature, judiciary, and independent auditing and review agencies.
But the South Asian nation’s score declined for “order and security,” where it ranked in the “bottom tercile” with Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan and Pakistan for “conventional crime, political violence, and violence as a means to redress personal grievances.
”India also did poorly compared with last year in safeguarding fundamental rights, including “effective enforcement of the right to life, rights of the accused and fundamental labor rights,” among others, said the report.
In South Asia, Nepal came 63rd, three places ahead of India. Pakistan was ranked 106th in the bottom eight of the global rankings. The country was judged to have the worst access to civil justice and to be the least orderly and secure out of the 66 countries ranked in the index in 2011.
The rule of law is important to the progress of countries, said Alejandro Ponce, chief research officer of The World Justice Project.“In broad terms, a lack of rule of law discourages investment and economic growth,” said Mr. Ponce.