New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) has raised questions on the methodology used in three "perception-based" indices -- Freedom in the World Index, V-DEM and EIU Democracy Index -- and said questions used in these surveys are not an appropriate measure of democracy.
EAC-PM member Sanjeev Sanyal, in a working paper titled 'Why India Does Poorly on Global Perception Indices', said these are primarily based on the opinions of a tiny group of unknown "experts".
"In recent years, India's rankings and scores have declined on a number of global opinion-based indices that deal with subjective issues such as democracy, freedom and so on," the EAC-PM said in a series of tweets.
Freedom in the World Index and V-DEM indices have placed India at the same level as during the Emergency of the 1970s, it said.
"Moreover, India has been placed below countries like Northern Cyprus. Surely, this is not credible," it said.
According to the EAC-PM, there are serious problems with the methodology used in these perception-based indices.
"First, these indices are primarily based on the opinions of a tiny group of unknown 'experts'. Second, the questions that are used are subjective and are worded in a way that is impossible to answer objectively even for a country, let alone compare across countries," it said.
Sanyal also asserted that certain questions used by these indices are not an appropriate measure of democracy across all countries.
Noting that since these indices are inputs into the World Governance Indicators, the EAC-PM said the World Bank should ensure greater transparency and accountability from these institutions.
The EAC-PM suggested that independent Indian think tanks should be encouraged to do similar perception-based indices for the world in order to break the monopoly of a handful of western institutions.
Sanyal in a series of tweets said there is even an index on direct democracy that is meant for a small country like Switzerland.
"India & US get a zero! Even Afghanistan does better!" he said.
Sanyal said that the clout of a tiny cabal of Western think tanks in this space is a form of neo-colonialism. PTI BKS SMN