New Delhi: Violence hit India where it hurts the most — it impacted the economy to the tune of USD 341.7 billion in 2014, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace(IEP).
The country has been ranked at a lowly 143 out of 162 nations in this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI).
According to the 2015 GPI published Wednesday, escalating civil strife and the consequent refugee crisis have been among the major factors behind the rising cost of global violence containment.
On India, the report said “the economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of India’s levels of violence was estimated to cost the national economy USD 341.7 billion in 2014. This is equivalent to 4.7 per cent of India’s GDP, or USD 273 per person”.
Meanwhile, South Asia moved up one notch in the regional ranking after staying at the bottom in 2014, but that’s mostly because conditions worsened at a faster pace in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa).
Overall, scores of most countries in South Asia slipped, with only Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh registering gains. India ranked 5th out of seven countries in South Asia.
Moreover, in the past eight years since GPI was first introduced, India deteriorated by 6 percent largely due to “deteriorations in indicators measuring deaths from external conflict, political terror and perceptions of criminality”.
Iceland led the pack of the Global Peace Index, followed by Denmark and Austria at second and third positions, respectively.
Others in the top 10 include New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Czech Republic.
According to the report, the impact of violence on the global economy reached a whopping USD 14.3 trillion, or 13.4 percent of global GDP, in 2014.
Globally, many European countries are in the midst of historic levels of peace, with homicide rates falling, military budgets decreasing and withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In contrast, countries such as Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan and Central African Republic brought up the bottom of the list, turning less peaceful.
Since last year, 81 countries improved their levels of peace while 78 fared worse, the report said.
“The year 2014 was marked by two contradictory trends: on the one hand, many countries in the OECD achieved historic levels of peace while on the other, strife-torn nations, especially in the Middle East, became more violent,” said IEP Founder and Executive Chairman Steve Killelea.