India has slipped 26 spots to the 105th position on the Global Economic Freedom Index 2020, according to the Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report released on Thursday. This year's report suggests Hong Kong again ranks 1st followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, the United States, Mauritius, Georgia, Canada and Ireland. India was at the 79th spot in last year's rankings.
The index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, and security of the person and privately owned property.
The report said prospects for increasing economic freedom in India depend on next-generation reforms in factor markets and in greater openness to international trade.
The rankings of other major countries are as follows: Japan (20), Germany (21), Italy (51), France (58), Mexico (68), Russia (89), China (124) and Brazil (105). The United States ranks 6th in this year's report compared to Canada, which ranks 9th.
The report measures economic freedom by analysing policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories. Indicators include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, property rights, government spending and taxation. The 2020 report is based on data from 2018, the latest year of comparable statistics.
As per the index, India's score decreased marginally on parameters such as size of government (from 8.22 to 7.16), legal system and property rights (from 5.17 to 5.06), freedom to trade internationally (6.08 to 5.71) and regulation of credit, labour and business (6.63 to 6.53). A score closer to 10 indicates a higher level of economic freedom.
"While Hong Kong remains the most economically-free jurisdiction in the world, interference from China, including the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests, severely undermines Hong Kong's rule of law, which helps ensure equal freedom for all," said Fred McMahon, Dr Michael A Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.
The ten lowest-rated countries are the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, Algeria, Iran, Angola, Libya, Sudan, and, lastly, Venezuela.
The report was prepared by James Gwartney, Florida State University; Robert A. Lawson and Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University; and Joshua Hall, West Virginia University.