India’s Rank Improves in the Human Freedom Index; But Still a Long Way to Go

Posted by: on Feb 7, 2018 | No Comments

Human Freedom Index 2017 Infogram

Do you enjoy freedom in your country? The term “freedom” is so vast and relative that you may not have a definite “yes” or “no” answer. Well, you don’t need to wonder. The latest Human Freedom Index (HFI) report of 2017 will give you an objective insight into the extent of liberty you enjoy in your country.

About HFI

The Human Freedom Index report is published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute and the LiberalesInstitut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and authored by Ian Vasquez and Tanja Porcnik. The HFI is drawn up using 79 data streams from a plethora of different sources and is considered as the most comprehensive set of data to rank 159 countries across the globe.

Parameters to Calculate in HFI

The index collates data under two heads – Personal Freedom and Economic Freedom. Under these heads, appear 12 broad indicators. These are:

  • Rule of Law
  • Security and Safety
  • Movement
  • Religion
  • Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
  • Expression and Information
  • Identity and Relationships
  • Size of Government
  • Legal System and Property Rights
  • Access to Sound Money
  • Freedom to Trade Internationally
  • Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business

To measure these broad indicators, the index uses several parameters, such as crime rate, freedom to practice religion of choice, tax rate, inflation, trade barriers and minimum wage laws.

These parameters or data-points are chosen with great caution. For instance, an article in the Washington Times cites a debate on whether the government providing free facilities should be included as a parameter. The article says, “Those who demand “free” medical care are in reality demanding that someone else pay for their medical care – because medical care is not free and often very costly. Those who demand free stuff from government or others, when pushed, say the “rich” ought to pay for it – as if there were a never-ending quantity of rich people who would sit still while being fleeced.”

HFI Performance by Different Countries

Which country do you think ranks high in upholding liberty? If your answer is USA, it’s most certainly not (despite the Statue of Liberty adorning New York Harbor)! In fact, America doesn’t even rank in the top ten freest nations in the index. Its position is at #17, which is considerably lower than most of us would have guessed.

According to HFI, the top five most free countries are:

  • Switzerland
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland
  • Australia

Performance of India in HFI

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that India jumped three ranks higher in the 2017 index, as compared to the previous report, which measured the index for the period 2014-2015. The bad news is that India is still at a low rank of #102.

Among the broad indicators of Personal Freedom, India scored the lowest in Rule of Law (4.2/10) and the highest in Association, Assembly, and Civil Society (7.8/10). Among the broad indicators of Economic Freedom, India scored the lowest inLegal System and Property Rights (5.1/10) and the highest in Sound Money (8.1/10).

In terms of overall ranking, India is higher than United Arab Emirates (at #116), Russia (at #126), China (at #130) and Pakistan (at #141). However, we have a long way to go to really call ourselves free.

There’s an urgent need for India to reduce and simplify regulations. More and more rules are introduced when the mechanisms to enforce law and order are weak. This fact is highlighted by the index, which shows our country to have a large number of restrictions along with high crime rates and a weak legal system. Rather than creating more laws, the focus should shift to ensuring adherence.

Leave a Reply