New Delhi: Over 900 million people–one in four–across the 16 nations in the Asia Pacific region paid a bribe in the past year when trying to access basic services like education or healthcare. Among them India has the highest bribery rate of 69%, said a survey released by anti-graft Transparency International (TI) on Tuesday.
India was closely followed by Vietnam (65%). Thailand (41%), Cambodia, Pakistan and Myanmar, each with 40%, were next. The rate was much lower in China (26%) and it was the lowest in Japan (0.2%).
The report also stressed that 41% people in India said that the level of corruption had increased in the last year.
China topped this list with 73% saying they perceived an increase in corruption. It was closely followed by Indonesia (65%), Malaysia (59%), Vietnam (56%), South Korea (50%) and Hong Kong (46 %). Interestingly, India’s neighbours like Pakistan (35%), Sri Lanka (21%) and Myanmar (22%) ranked lower in the list.
Fifty percent of the respondents said their government was doing badly in the battle against corruption; 41% backed their government’s efforts. In India, 53% said the government was doing well and only 35% said the government was doing badly in the anti-graft fight.
For the survey, TI spoke to 21,861 people in 16 countries across the Asia Pacific region between July 2015 and January 2017 about their perceptions and experiences of corruption.
“Governments must do more to deliver on their anti-corruption commitments. It’s time to stop talking and act. Millions of people are forced to pay bribes for public services and it is the poor who are most vulnerable,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
“Without proper law enforcement, corruption thrives. Bribery is not a small crime, it takes food off the table, it prevents education, it impedes proper healthcare and ultimately it can kill,” Ugaz added.
As per the survey, police topped the list of public services most often demanding a bribe with about 30% stating that they paid a bribe.
It also highlighted that 38% of the poorest people paid a bribe, which is the highest proportion of any income group. In India, 73% of the poorest people paid a bribe for public services.