Though India is credited with having made considerable progress in terms of economic reform over the past few years, corruption is perceived to be widespread and entrenched at all levels of the political and administrative system. India ranks 87 from 178 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), with a score of 3.4. Since the first iterations of the index, India has scored between 2.7 and 3.5, indicating that – despite some progress – corruption continues to be perceived as rampant and endemic by the various CPI sources.
Similarly, the 2009 World Bank Governance Indicators suggest little change over the years. The country performs consistently above average on indicators of voice and accountability, government effectiveness and the rule of law, but poorly in terms of regulatory quality and control of corruption. Its rating for political stability and regularity quality are particularly weak. With an overall percentile score of just 47, India does not instill much confidence.
Freedom House 2008 comes to similar conclusions, noting that government effectiveness and accountability continue to be undermined by the close connections between crime and politics, weak government institutions and widespread corruption. The latest survey by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy ranked India’s bureaucracy as the worst in Asia.
According to the Global Corruption Barometer 2010, petty corruption is common inIndia. Citizens do not expect the situation to change in the short term and expressed skepticism with regard to government political will and/or capacity to curb corruption. 74% people felt that corruption has increased in the last three years.
Indian firms are also perceived to export corruption outside its borders. The country comes at the bottom of Transparency International’s 2008 Bribe Payer Index, ranking 19 from 22 countries with a score of 6.8. This indicates that Indian firms are perceived by business people as very likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad.
A corruption survey published in June 2008 by Transparency International-India and the Centre for Media Studies India confirms these findings. One-third of Below Poverty Line (BPL) households across the 31 states covered by the survey paid bribes to access one or more of 11 public services. The percentage of respondents paying bribes to access services was especially high for the police, land registration and housing.
However, there is some good news too. The “2010 India Corruption Survey” by the Centre of Media Studies (CMS) showed a decline in graft over a period of five years in public services. According to the survey, there is an increasing percentage of citizens who said that corruption in public services had declined in the previous one year. Also, the percentage of those who had actually paid bribe during the year had also declined, compared to a similar study in 2005. Those who paid bribes in 2005 stood at 61 percent but only 28 percent in 2010.