Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at a rally in Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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It’s The Economist, stupid.

India slipping ten places to 51st position in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is the new whip in the hands of detractors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Usually, the news would hardly make it to even the inside pages of a barely known newspaper. But these are unusual times as is clear from the coverage this news has received. According to the report, India’s overall ‘democracy’ score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.9 in 2019, whatever that means and however that is calculated.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Democracy Index 2019 is reported to be based on five categories — electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

An important trend in the modern global business strategy is to analyse the political decision-making process in different countries to ascertain the extent of risk exposure for investments. The return on investment becomes less important, or at least not as significant a concern as exposure to risk, in the real world of investments.

Also read: Economist, Soros: Has Hindu nationalism increased global criticism of India or bad economy?

Opportunities beyond democracies

Perhaps this is why the world’s major economies have been heavily investing in countries that are less democratic than those with long democratic traditions and collective decision making culture, like in India. The moneybags of the West have found it comfortable to deal with dictators and despots in underdeveloped countries. A nation like China, which cannot boast of having the best of democratic traditions, has been the major recipient of investments from the developed world and institutions patronised by them.

The logic behind choosing authoritarian states over democracies as  preferred investment destinations is that the former have a less complicated mechanism, or without multiple layers, of decision-making, which facilitates direct contact with the top leadership. This guarantees exclusive business opportunities and greater flexibility without bothering about rules, regulations, ethics, and established business norms.

In this background, pontificating about the virtues of democracy for greater business and investment opportunities sounds jarring. India has always prided itself on upholding democratic traditions and strong institutional framework in domestic dealings as well as international business engagements. This fact has been mentioned and appreciated by the United Nations (UN) and other agencies of repute and respect.

Also read: Economy, diplomacy, democracy — Why 2020 is harder to predict than 2019

An ‘expert’ Economist

Unlike reports by UN agencies and standard research institutions and universities, The Economist is a political journal, which reports and comments on current topics. The publication has every right to take sides and not be completely unbiased in its reports and editorial comments.

The Economist is believed to have conducted a survey of the Indian political scene to assess the current situation under the Modi government. The Economist must be a truly global expert on conducting surveys with a frugal staff, and that too on five very broad categories, at the quickest possible time.

The report authoritatively confirms that “many of the 200 million Muslims do not have papers to prove they are Indian”. Needless to say, The Economist team must have surely met about 200 million Muslims. Alternatively, it may have engaged the services of some expert survey agency that we don’t know of. Either way, the Modi government can probably make use of The Economist when it conducts its own exercise for the National Population Register (NPR).

Also read: Indian democracy’s big contradiction – Dalits cherish Constitution, privileged want a rethink

The only way out

After a flawed democracy index, The Economist followed it up with its cover story article ‘Intolerant India’ under the Modi government. It basically ridicules the parliamentary form of government, getting 37 per cent votes under a ‘first past the post’ system by claiming that the ruling authority is determined to ‘transform India from a tolerant multi religious place into a chauvinistic Hindu state’. The best that the journal could do at this point is apologise for this travesty of truth, pull the article down, recall all the copies, and save itself the ignominy of displaying that it suffers from foot-in-the-mouth syndrome.

And all along our children were taught in schools about India having inherited this democracy from Britain, the country of origin of The Economist.

The Economist has indulged not only in crass misreporting but also in belittling its own standards of ethics in journalism and claims of non-partisan reporting. It has largely economised on truth and thrown all ethics and journalistic standards to wind.

History repeats. Katherine Mayo’s highly scurrilous book Mother India (1927) was dismissed by Mahatma Gandhi as a “report of a drain inspector”. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report and the article deserve the same treatment.

The author is a member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP and former editor of Organiser. Views are personal.

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  1. The simple fact is that India was NEVER a democracy or secular, or republic or socialist to begin with as it lacks the sine qua non of all three which is “equality under law” and has stolen from “the haves” for the “have lots” in the name of the “have nots” on the basis of caste, tribe, religion, gender, language, geography, and proximity to power from 1947 to the present day.
    Consider religious freedom: (Articles 25 and 28). The judiciary AND the Legislative – Executive have played havoc with the religious freedoms of the Savarna Arya including confiscating their temples and commonwealth, exterminating, starving or otherwise eliminating the hereditary education and law giving trustees, the Brahmanas and dictating how and how not the many native religions dismissed as “Hindu” may practice their faiths.
    Consider “Equality under law” (Articles 14 and 15): Right since inception the Indian Rapeublic has stolen wealth, educational and employment opportunities, culture, reputation, truth, freedom and dignity from the “haves” for the “have lots” in the name of the mythical “have nots” on the basis of caste, tribe, religion, gender, language, geography and proximity to power.
    So long as the victims of Indian malgovernance were Brahmanas and Savarna and the beneficiaries were Itharas (Dalits) and Mlechas (Christians and Moslems) who were prospered, among other things, by the confiscation of the Brahmana led Savarna commonwealth of Temples, treasure, lands, water bodies, educational institutions, their religious freedoms and opportunities for education and employment, this was fine and dandy with the West.
    Any perception of change (there is no real change as all the stealing and pampering that has gone on since 1947 has been magnified by the Modi BJP Sarkar with doles, subsidies, “Yojanas”, reservations etc. etc) is enough to set the cat among the pigeons.

  2. Indian Forex reserves stand at 465 Bn. and growing. Who puts money in Essar or Jet airways or Air India only the stupid ?
    Is entire orchestra is playing in perfect symphony ? Or we do not have the ear for music. The money is coming in the country, despite Modi who may be everything but certainly not a tax dodger or a thief of public money.
    So far no economist has explained why the reserves are growing, despite economy not doing well, joblessness growing, constitution in danger, 370/35A, CAA, NCR and protests all over the country looking like a full collapse to writers from US,UK and Europe.
    Can Someone please enlighten?????

  3. When you choose a bigot to lead you, you can hardly expect sensible reasoning from him & his cheerleaders. When you tell him not to spread mischief & corruption on the land, he & his supporters blatantly lie & say, we are peaceful. Indeed, they are liars. When he starts the destruction on the land, it will effect everyone including his supporters. They will reap, what had been sown.

  4. Pathetic, Mr. Chari. The world is turning against the way Modi Government is functioning. World morality has gone way ahead of the obscurantist ideas of Manusmriti. You want Brahmins to rule India, though India may land up at the bottom of world prosperity.

  5. India should only be a Hindu state and should shed the secular sheep’s skin and be the wolf it is and be its true self! Let the world decide..

    • The world will kick Hindu India’s rear: no weapons from secular Christian world, no oil from Muslim world. Hindu India will have to then decide how to make oil and weapons from cowpathy science.

  6. What kind of index it is ? when so many people are on roads to protest Democracy index goes down, and when people are in their drawing rooms watching serials democracy index shoots up. This shows how how these people evaluate and then start wring and preaching their own agenda.

  7. One musical instrument can occasionally begin to sound off key. However, when an entire orchestra is playing in perfect symphony, it is time to sit up and take notice.

  8. The Economist has never been known to be friendly to India. So its slipping India’s position to 51 or 101 can be attributed not to the score, but to The economist itself. I am at a loss to understand how Hindu Natinoalism or Muslim Nationalism or Christian nationalism will affect soundness of investments in India. Has India changed its economic policies radicatlly say between last year and now, or five years before and now?

  9. The truth hurts eh Mr Seshadri. And then you write a piece of democracy, dictators and capitalism while deriding the print media.

    Unfortunately for you, they may not be as pliant as the TV media

  10. Well, since it really is The Economist, stupid, why waste your precious ink and breath on countering it so vehemently? Esp when you say it may not be worthy of comment from a barely known newspaper?

    Or is it the case that their criticism rankles? More so when you guys had gone to town earlier in 2015 when publications like these were heralding the arrival of the great leader and Acche Din?

  11. The argument put forth by shri Chari is so devoid of essence that it’s difficult not to feel dejected by its contents
    Even a common observer of political trends in India would worry about the declining democratic values. But instead of examining and deliberating on reasons, his ilk will start ridiculing anyone, be it a noble laureate or a publication of repute. Pretty sad reading.

  12. Aww… Ur attempt betrays a sense of desperation. I reject those issues too where the magazine praised Modi as it doesn’t have any journalistic credibility. according to u. Can’t have the cake and eat it too, Mr. Chari.

  13. Only sensible can identify this cunningly sutle trend of targeting India. Holding tiranga to TV and dramatic slogans defines a chance escape suffocating House environment since their nikah. This community need inculcate sence & civility instead of hollow heroism.

  14. Views expressed by Shri Chari in this article are forthright and factual. Of course, our sickulars have made a big issue of this report by Economist which was timed to come out along with Davos WEF meet. It was a gala time for anti-national media in Davos to report on what George Soros said about India, asking leading questions about India story along with social cohesion under strain etc. It is indeed amusing and also scary to note that CAA can be twisted deviously to such as extent by the media and mixed with imaginary fears on All India NRC. Indians nationalist irrespective of political affiliations must guard themselves against the motivations and machination of such viscerally anti national media and one needs to find out if it has support and funding from outside.

  15. Yes these are unusual times because this marks a turn towards the vedic culture where only upper castes have the right to rule. By nature Brahmanism is exclusive and discriminatory. No wonder the author is a supporter of this government as he as a privileged caste is a beneficiary of the vedic culture for several centuries

  16. Well said. The editors of the economist can neatly fold their magazine and place it some place where the sun does not shine.

  17. “Indian democracy under Modi is too strong…” It is shocking that a sensible man like Seshadri Chari is saying this. If by merely wearing black bands for protest people are arrested without bail, then would you call it a strong Democracy? The main in reference is Adityanath, who was handpicked by Modi to underline his belief in “strong Democracy”. There are umpteen other examples.
    If Seshadri Chari has been so brain washed, and before him we have seen Rakesh Sinha, then I can say with full conviction that there is not even one sane voice in the entire saffron camp.

  18. Dear Sheshadriji,

    Instead of taking help of Economist for NPR, it would good take help of Kailasji senior BJP leader from MP and in charge West Bengal as he can identify illegal migrants from strange eating habit of having Poha everyday. Instead of paper, the officials can be asked to catch hold of people found eating Poha and declare them as illegal migrants from across border.

  19. The Bhaktas have decided to wear blinders and will refuse to see the reality; irrespective of what is said and who is saying, this lot will go and defend every action of PM Narendra Modi.

    Yesterday, it wasn’t just the Economist but George Soros and the Govt of the USA that was critical of the Anti-Democratic actions of Narendra Modi Govt. Based on the first two if not all the three, Shekhar Gupta also criticised the actions of the Govt and damaging Brand India.

    But likes of Seshadri Chari make their living from Modi Bhakti.

  20. I had so much hopes on Modi thinking he will follow free market Capitalism and develop Bharat in breakneck speed but he turned out to be a two penny socialist.

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