Global Trust Index

India continues to be among the top three nations where trust in government remains high despite a small slip since last year, according to the Global Trust Index released annually in Davos. The ranking will reassure the Modi government in the wake of tough reforms like demonetisation and goods and services tax.

India is also in the trust zone as far as how the public sees business, media and NGOs. Though its position slipped to number three this year from first last year, its rating remains at ‘trust level’ with Indonesia and China ahead of it.

The annual Global Trust Index, released by communications marketing firm Edelman in Davos last week, showed that China gained strongly and jumped to the top position whereas the US reported the steepest decline in public trust in its institutions. China's climb could be linked to the view in the country that it has gained at the expense of a US “withdrawal” from the Asia-Pacific in trade and security.

In aggregate, India's trust rating across government, media, NGOs and business fell 13 percentage points, statistically marking one of the sharpest decreases. But in each category it remained in the 60-100 band marking popular ‘trust’ in institutions. Media was the lowest at 61, dropping five points since 2017.

The index showed that globally, trust in government, media and NGOs was low as 20 out of 28 countries surveyed online during October-November last year came in the categories where general population distrusted those institutions. India, as last year, continued to buck this trend.

The overall high trust rating will come as welcome news to the Modi government, particularly in the wake of his visit to Davos where he gave a major speech pointing to the benefits of tough and painful reforms like demonetisation and implementation of GST. A worry for India was the perception — outside the country — that its businesses could not be fully trusted. It scored low on this parameter, pointing to the need to make contracts and arbitration more reliable. The report showed that companies headquartered in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia were most trusted. The least trusted country brands were headquartered in Mexico, India, Brazil and China.

The index report — 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer — revealed that trust in the US had suffered the largest ever-recorded drop in the survey’s history among the general population. Trust among the general population fell nine points to 43, placing it in the lower quarter of the 28-country trust index. The collapse of trust in the US was driven by a staggering lack of faith in government, said an Edelman statement.

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