07/03/2017 12:34 AM IST | Updated 07/03/2017 11:32 AM IST

India Is The 25th "Best Country" In The World, And Its Attitude To Women Is Dragging It Down

India seen as the place to invest and start a business, but fails on basic human rights


India is ranked 25th of 80 countries in a global survey that measures people's perceptions of which the "best countries" are. Among the main factors that drags its ranking down is the perception of people globally that it is not among the best countries for women.

The rankings are a project of the U.S. News & World Report, Y&R's BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The 2017 Best Countries ranking is based on a survey of 21,000 people in 36 countries on 65 country attributes. The respondents to the survey skewed affluent and influential; nearly 90% were described by the report as either "informed elites" who are college-educated and well-off or "business decision-makers". The survey was administered online.

Pushing India up in the rankings were its perception as an up-and-coming economy (third place among all countries), it being a preferred destination to study abroad (third among all countries), having a rich heritage, and surprisingly, the fourth best country in the world to start a business in and the sixth best to invest in.

Pulling India's ranking down were it being perceived as non-transparent (46th rank), lacking in the attributes of progressive citizenship including respect for human rights and religious freedom (52nd rank), and not a safe place for women (54th rank) or to raise children (56th rank).

Overall, Switzerland ranks as the best country, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom. The United States fell three ranks to the seventh spot, with nearly 75% of respondents saying that they lost some respect for US leadership after the 2016 Presidential election. Nordic countries dominate the top of the rankings.

"The Best Countries project allows us to chart how global perceptions of a country affect its prosperity," said David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School. "We've learned that a focus on education and citizenship – including human rights, gender equality, religious freedom and more – can drive prosperity more than traditional forms of power, like military prowess."

Sri Lanka ranks 50th and Pakistan ranks 74th out of 80 countries. China is on the 20th spot.