The Global Integrity Report provides understanding of the governance and anti-corruption mechanisms in a country. Over 300+ actionable indicators provide a picture of citizens’ and businesses’ access to key governance and anti-corruption mechanisms and their effectiveness. It also examines issues like their ability to monitor government’s behavior, and their ability to seek redress and advocate for improved governance. The elaborate scorecards take into account both existing legal measures on the books and ground realities of practical implementation which is what really counts for the citizens.
In simple terms, the Global Integrity Index (GII) does not measure corruption, but in stead, investigates the “medicine” or the mechanisms being used against it. Thus, it is a governance effectiveness indicator.
Difference between the red and blue scores in the image (at left) gives the gap in implementation of the written law. A wide “implementation gap” is a sign that written law is widely ignored, creating a situation where real reform depends more on political will than on new laws.
Here is the report card of India from the last data published in 2009. The index, however, is now discontinued.
Global Integrity Index 2009 – India Report Card
Indiascores 70 (out of 100) implying that it is only moderately capable of handling the menace of corruption. It also highlights a large gap (of 31 points) between the legal framework and actual implementation on the ground. Let us see the overall score in each the six categories:
Category I – Civil Society, Public Information and media (72, moderate)
Category II – Elections (70, moderate)
Category III – Government Accountability (59, Very Weak)
Category IV – Administration and Civil Service (66, Weak)
Category V – Oversight and Regulation (80, strong)
Category VI – Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law (71, moderate)
Thus, overall government accountability comes to be very weak despite strong oversight and regulatory mechanisms.
The official summary ofIndia’s Integrity indicators highlights the following:
- Certain public sector anti-corruption safeguards inIndiaperform very well while others do not.
- Good news can be found in robust public access to government information, high levels of public participation in elections, and a relatively strong anti-corruption legal framework.
- Furthermore,India’s functional equivalent of an ombudsman mechanism — the Central Vigilance Commission — is quite effective.
- Despite strong performance in these areas, the country struggles with promoting transparency and accountability in the financing of political parties and candidates. For instance, there are currently no regulations that require parties or candidates to disclose the donations they receive (although there is an ongoing effort to pass a law that requires political parties to publish their financing).
- In addition, conflicts of interest laws governing the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government are absent or are weakly enforced.
- Citizens face obstacles in accessing the anti-corruption agency for support; anonymous complaints are not allowed and there have been some cases of whistle-blowers being publicly identified.
Note that corruption and good governance are certainly related in opposite ways. However, “high integrity” score is not the same as “less corruption”. The integrity indicators scores can at best point to the right directions in which efforts need to be made.
The report exposes two major reasons why corruption is still so high in India.
(1) The root of the problem appears to be the political financing which is totally opaque.
(2) No legal protection to whistleblowers. This discourages people from coming out in the open and expose wrong doing. Harassment and even murder of RTI activists speaks clearly that a law is urgently needed in the country.