News Excerpt
The Human Freedom Index 2020, a worldwide ranking of civil, economic and personal freedom, placed India at the 111thspot out of 162 countries. India ranked 94 on the index in 2019.

Pre-Connect
•    The Human Freedom Index presents the state of human freedom in the world based on a broad measure that encompasses personal, civil, and economic freedom.
•    Human freedom is a social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals and is defined in this index as negative liberty or the absence of coercive constraint.
•    Because freedom is inherently valuable and plays a role in human progress, it is worth measuring carefully.
•    The Human Freedom Index is a resource that can help to more objectively observe relationships between freedom and other social and economic phenomena, as well as the ways in which the various dimensions of freedom interact with one another.

About Human Freedom Index 2020
•    The index was published by American think tank Cato Institute and Fraser Institute in Canada.
•    It presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint.
•    This is the sixth annual index that uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas:
o    Rule of Law
o    Security and Safety
o    Movement
o    Religion
o    Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
o    Expression and Information
o    Identity and Relationships
o    Size of Government
o    Legal System and Property Rights
o    Access to Sound Money
o    Freedom to Trade Internationally
o    Regulation of Credit, Labour, and Business
The HFI is the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries. The HFI covers 162 countries for 2018, the most recent year for which the sufficient data are available. The index ranks countries beginning in 2008.

What the Index Says?
    India is ahead of China and Bangladesh, which ranked 129 and 139 on the 2020 index respectively. New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong bagged the first three spots.
    India’s scored 6.30 out of 10 in personal freedom and 6.56 in economic freedom. The country’s overall human freedom score was 6.43.
    Only 15% of the world’s population lives in the top quartile of countries in the HFI, and 34% live in the bottom quartile. The gap in human freedom between the most free and the least free countries has widened since 2008, increasing by 6% when comparing the top and bottom 10% of nations in the HFI.
    Out of 10 regions, the regions with the highest levels of freedom are North America (Canada and the United States), Western Europe, and East Asia. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia
    Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher average per capita income ($50,340) than those in other quartiles; the average per capita income in the least‐free quartile is $7,720.
    The HFI also finds a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy. Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard.

Analytica
    Personal freedom around the world has seen a “notable decline since 2008″. Overall freedom has also declined, though to a lesser degree, over the same time period.” Of the 12 major categories that measure in the report, all but five have seen some deterioration, with freedom of religion, identity and relationship freedoms, and the rule of law seeing the largest decreases.
    India was ranked 142nd in the Press Freedom Index, followed by a fall of 26 spots in the global economic freedom index in September 2020. India has also registered low scores on indices on academic freedom and internet freedom.

Conclusion
The findings in the HFI suggest that freedom plays an important role in human well‐being, and they offer opportunities for further research into the complex ways in which freedom influences, and can be influenced by, political regimes, economic development, and the whole range of indicators of human well‐being.