Credit Suisse Progress Barometer 2019

Credit Suisse

The Credit Suisse Progress Barometer measures the desire for progress in society, politics and economy around the globe.

For this year’s edition, 16,000 citizens in 16 different countries on six continents (all except Antarctica) were interviewed and asked to share their views.

The questionnaire for the Progress Barometer was developed and launched in Switzerland in 2018 and taken to a global level in 2019. gfs.bern worked with local experts to ensure that the concept and questionnaire were adapted to reflect the context and characteristics of each country individually.

At the heart of the concept are 30 statements referring to 10 aspects of progress in society, politics and the economy in each case. For each of these aspects respondents were asked to indicate whether – in their opinion – the wheels of progress should move much faster (indicating desire for progress) or whether they should stop and be reversed (indicating aversion to progress).

This index allows opinions on progress within a country to be compared by looking at the areas of politics, society and the economy separately. Moreover, it also provides the opportunity to compare the 16 countries included in the study, thus helping us understand the readiness for progress around the world.




The process of adapting the questionnaire to each country brought to light how subjective progress as a notion is and how dependent it is on personal opinion and cultural background. Progress in one particular area can be viewed very favourably in one country, whereas in another country it might be seen as quite problematic. Progress is also not always seen as positive. The political zeitgeist, for example, suggests an increase in political polarization for the future – a development that many citizens would definitely prefer to reverse.

In addition to collecting information on where the citizens want their country to go in the future, the Progress Barometer also looks at the past and how citizens evaluate the changes their country has seen in the last ten years.

This cockpit is a portrait of how progress is seen in India in 2019. Readiness for progress is discussed for the areas of politics, society and the economy – as well for the country overall. The 30 items used to calculate the progress indices are displayed in a progress map showing readiness for progress on the x-axsis and the unanimity with which this progress is demanded on the y-axsis.

For methodological information, please consult the info box at the end of the cockpit.

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Over all the 16 surveyed countries, India has a comparatively high desire for progress (Nr. 3 of 16) with the desire for progress in society being particularly high.

Progress map India

The issue where India wishes for progress the most is the empowerment of women. In addition, gender equality in general – and related to this the improvement of (external) child care – are also strong progress issues. This is no coincidence: India is lagging behind in terms of gender equality (ranked 131st of 188 on the UN Gender Equality Index), the educational level of women is significantly lower, and violence against women is a recurring issue. India also wants to improve the political representation of its lower castes – compared to the empowerment of women, however, this is not as clearly prioritized.

The second range of topics where India wants to see faster progress is the transition of the labour market. The idea of finding a purpose in one’s work is traditionally a post-materialistic value associated with the generation of millennials in the countries of the west. This year’s Progress Barometer indicates that this is also of high priority for Indians, as is lifelong learning. There is a clear willingness to spend more (taxpayers’) money on research. On the other hand, digitalization and the transition from an economy focused on manufacturing to one that is based on services is viewed with slightly more circumspection. People are not necessarily opposed to the development of agricultural land for better infrastructure and the expansion of cities, but they are not enthusiastic either. The same holds true for the deepening of the urban-rural divide.

Opening India up to more free trade, the influx of foreign experts and providing attractive conditions for (international) companies in order for them to relocate is something India is willing to embrace.

Twenty-two of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India. The idea of preserving (or even expanding) individual mobility without putting even greater pressure on the environment therefore falls on fertile ground in India. As in all other countries surveyed, e-mobility is one of the issues where there is the greatest desire for progress. The introduction of a new petrol tax, on the other hand, is met with less enthusiasm in the country which used to be the world’s fastest-growing economy but is now increasingly heading towards a slump.

As regards the process of transition away from a political system that is pluralistic to one that is more majoritarian, people want to maintain the status quo. Media diversity often comes at the price of less accuracy in information. This is also a development where Indians want to see the wheels of progress stop turning.

The only issue where Indians express clear opposition to further development is the increasing political polarization.

Desire for progress in India

India shows the greatest willingness for progress in the area of society, where it is number 3 after Brazil and China in the ranking of all 16 countries surveyed.


Slightly less strong, but still amongst the highest is India’s readiness for progress when it comes to the economy and finally also politics.

When asked how Indians themselves would rate progress in their country, 66% are of the opinion that their country is currently very progressive or somewhat progressive when it comes to social issues, 65% think the same of economic progress and 61% think political progress has been made. Indians thus have a much higher opinion of the progress their country has made over the last ten years than people do of their own country’s progress in the other 16 nations surveyed.

Future prospects

12% of Indians feel their personal future is quite bleak – in contrast to 44% who view the future with some optimism or mixed feelings. When it comes to the prospects of the next generation, Indians are somewhat less pessimistic than people in the other countries: 44% take the view that there is a risk their children will not be as well off as the respondents themselves. And although they see themselves as part of India’s middle class, they fear that their social and economic status is increasingly under pressure (73%); 43% of all Indians are very or quite confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably in their retirement.

Battle against climate change

Although India’s voters are not altogether enthusiastic about the introduction of a fuel tax (35%), there are still clear signs of a desire to see more measures to combat climate change: 74% agree that the state must do more to prevent companies from polluting the environment; 69% are also of the view that the economy is too one-sided in focusing on growth and that sustainability is being ignored.

Assessment of past 10 years

In various areas, the situation in India has improved over the last 10 years, according to Indian society. Most Indians feel there has been an improvement in political participation (54%), social security (53%), national unity (65%), the stability of economic relations, innovation (70%), sustainable technologies (58%) and both urban (57%) and rural (56%) infrastructure.

Social cohesion

According to Indian voters, only a small minority is getting richer, while no one else is benefiting from developments (68%). The idea of resolving conflicts without weapons and violence is historically embedded in the democratic process of India; 66% of Indian voters still share this opinion today. Greater social cohesion is also called for when it comes to the position of the lower castes in Indian society.

on behalf of: Credit Suisse

basic population: Indian citizens with the right to vote

fieldwork: Cint AB

surveying: online panel

survey period: 20.09.2019-18.10.2019

sample size: min. 1000 per country, India (N=1116)

margin of error: at 50/50 (and 95 percent probability) India (± 2.9)

quota characteristics: age/gender interlocked

weighing: age/gender

survey duration: average survey time in minutes in India = 19

Progress Index and Items:

Respondents were asked the following question: „For each of the areas below, assess the current development and imagine this development as a wheel that turns. For each case, decide whether the development should be accelerated or reversed.“ Ten statements asking about a development in society, economy and politics each were surveyed in all 16 countries. The adaption of these items to best suit the countries context were made in cooperation with local experts.

The following items were surveyed in India:

Progress items economy:

service-based society: India produces fewer goods and is turning into a service-based society.
digitalization: Digitization/robotization makes our working lives easier and more efficient, but it also makes traditional professions redundant.
free trade: The trade of goods is getting freer and more global.
lifelong learning: You have to do regular on-the-job training in order to keep up.
low corporate taxes: Because of low corporate tax rates, many international companies move their head offices to India.
influx foreign experts: India needs more and more experts from abroad.
tax money for research: To strengthen India as a research location, more taxpayers‘ money is spent on research.
development of agricultural land: Growing cities and major industrial and infrastructure projects mean that more and more agricultural land is being developed/Major infrastructure projects and ideas means that more and more cultivated land is built on.
e-mobility: Electric cars allow even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances./Mobility with electrically powered cars allows even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances.
investment international corporations: International corporations like Amazon decide to invest in India and gain influence on the economy.

Progress items society:

gender equality: Gender equality is promoted in all areas of life.
urban-rural contrast: People living in big cities and in small towns in the rural areas have fewer and fewer interests in common.
gay rights: Gay couples increasingly enjoy equal rights in all areas of life.
fewer independent media: There are fewer and fewer independent media outlets in India.
expansion public childcare: Public daycare and childcare services are being expanded.
increase life expectancy: Advances in medicine means that we are healthier into old age, but at the same time we’ll have to work for longer.
migration transforms society: Immigration transforms the composition of societies./Transmigration transforms the composition of societies.
sense of purpose in work: People increasingly look for passion and meaning in their work.
petrol tax: Additional taxes on petrol are demanded worldwide in order to slow down climate change.
empowerment of women: Women organize themselves to become more empowered and strenghten their position in society.

Progress items politics:

increase in pension deductions: Wage deductions for pensions are increasing because people are living longer.
dependence on international agreements: When it comes to its global market position, India is increasingly dependent on international agreements with other countries.
regulation increase: More and more everyday things are becoming more strictly regulated./The state ensures that many parts of life and work are clearly regulated.
transition to knowledge based society: India is turning into a knowledge-based society and is spending less on agriculture and instead more on universities and higher education.
accessability trough social media: People can organise themselves spontaneously via the internet and force policy-makers to become more accessible to the public.
polarization: Politics is becoming increasingly polarised and cooperation between the parties more difficult.
media diversity vs. reliability: While more and more sources of information are available to form a political opinion, the facts become less important.
projects against natural catastrophes: Projects are being developed to reduce the effects of natural catastrophes.
transition to majoritarian politics: Politics in India becomes more majoritarian and less pluralistic.
political representation of lower castes: The political representation of lower castes increases which will lead to a a decrease in their discrumination in Indian society.