Three out of four Indians believe political parties and the police are extremely corrupt. Almost half the people who had any contact with the police department in the past year said they had to pay a bribe to get their work done.
This is among the findings of a report released by Berlinbased watchdog Transparency International. India, however, fared better than Kosovo, Cameroon, and Albania, which were the worst offenders, with around three quarters of respondents surveyed saying they paid a bribe in the past 12 months. Around the world, one in 10 people paid a bribe in the past year, with the police and judiciary seen to be pocketing the most money.
The Global Corruption Barometer-2007 measures corruption through the eyes of ordinary citizens. It is based on a public opinion survey of 63,199 respondents including 1,069 from India. It is not a ranking of countries on the basis of the degree of corruption, but a reflection of people’s experiences as they deal with various utilities and institutions. People who responded to the survey were asked to rate these entities on a 5-point scale where 5 meant extremely corrupt and 1 meant not corrupt.
The prognosis for India is not good. Compared to the 2006 edition of the study, most utilities and departments have fared worse in terms of public perception of corruption. The only exception is the armed forces where public perception of corruption has declined from 1.9 in 2006 to 1.8. Political parties score 4.6, and the police 4.5.
The TI corruption barometer also found that poor people are often asked to pay bribes, in developed as well as in developing countries. The agency said that this hits low income households with a regressive tax that saps “scarce household resources”.
‘Reuters’ contributed to this story.