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Over 4/5th of Indians trust govt, majority favour autocracy: Pew study

Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55 per cent) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2017 11:20 IST
Press Trust of India, Washington
Pew survey,India,Indian republic
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India January 26, 2016. (REUTERS File Photo)

More than four-fifths of Indian citizens trust their government, but interestingly, a majority of Indians also support military rule and autocracy, a latest Pew survey said on Monday.

“In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% (of people) trust their national government,” Pew Research said in a report based on its survey on governance and trust among key countries across the world. Of these, the report said, 46% “somewhat” trusted the government to do what was right.

Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55%) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.

In fact, more than one-fourth (27%) of them want a strong leader.

The sample size for the face-to-face survey conducted in India was 2,464. Carried out in eight languages, it involved adult population from Delhi and 15 of the 17 most populous states. The fieldwork was done between February 21 and March 10.

Nearly half of Russians (48%) back governance by a strong leader, but rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, it said.

A global median of 26% say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing.

Roughly seven-in-10 (71%) say it would be a bad type of governance.

India is one of the three countries in the Asia Pacific region where people support technocracy.

“Asian-Pacific publics generally back rule by experts, particularly people in Vietnam (67%), India (65%) and the Philippines (62%),” it said.

Only Australians are notably wary as 57% say it would be a bad way to govern, and only 41% support governance by experts, the report said.

According to the survey, roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries. “But in these societies, older people (those ages 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers,” the report added.

Only one in 10 in Europe back military rule.

Pew said more than half in each of the 38 nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country.

Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader, or the military.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 21:39 IST