On global indices measuring democracy

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International relations, Topic: Current Affairs, Issue: Indices and reports

Context: In response to V-Dem Institute’s recent democracy index, Indian government is planning to release its own democracy index

Democracy as per various democracy indices-

  • Democracy indices evaluate factors beyond electoral participation and civic rights, including participatory nature and decision-making processes.
  • Differences exist in indicators, weightage, and aggregation models among indices.
  • Indices combine quantitative and qualitative assessments, covering political party distribution and corruption safeguards.

Limitations of democracy indices:

  • Subjectivity, rely on researchers’ judgments rather than tangible characteristics.
  • Questions about the neutrality of experts conducting surveys.
  • Scope limitations exist, with smaller countries often overlooked in certain indices.
  • Ideological discrepancies occur due to varying definitions of democracy.


  • Different indices serve distinct purposes and can be used as complementary tools.
  • Lack of consensus exists on defining democracy and creating a singular index.
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