New Delhi: Ahead of the third anniversary of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, a survey has found that both popular perception as well as experience of corruption in public services has declined.
The finding of the survey, CMS- India Corruption Study 2017, conducted by New Delhi based think tank Centre for Media Studies (CMS), which compares corruption in public services between 2005 and 2016, reinforces the government’s claim that it has made a dent in graft with its various anti-corruption initiatives.
According to the report, around one-third of the households surveyed experienced corruption in public services at least once in 2016 compared to 53% of households in 2005. While 73% of households perceived an increase in corruption level in public services in 2005, only 43% reported an increase in 2016.
The report also says that the estimated total amount paid as bribes went down from Rs20,500 crore in 2005 to Rs6,350 crore in 2016.
The report covers over 3,000 households in rural and urban areas across 20 states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, UP and Rajasthan.
Transparency in governance and action against corruption was one of the key poll planks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign.
The BJP also played up its anti-corruption agenda in subsequent assembly elections. The decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November 2016 was also touted by the government as part of its anti-corruption fight.
The BJP said the report only reflects the improvement in governance and the effectiveness of the anti-corruption drive undertaken by Prime Minister Modi. “This clearly demonstrates that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge, governance has drastically improved. The anti-corruption theme of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is also visible in bringing down corruption in public delivery services,” said GVL Narsimha Rao, spokesperson for the BJP.
According to the report, Karnataka (77%), Andhra Pradesh (74%) and Tamil Nadu (68%) experienced the most corruption in 2016 and Himachal Pradesh (3%), Kerala (4%) and Chhattisgarh (13%) the least. As far as public services were concerned, the experience of corruption was higher in police services (34%) and land/housing (24%) and judicial services (18%) in 2016.
The Congress party questioned the report and the claim of a decline in corruption under the NDA government.“A CVC report of this government itself states that there is an increase in corruption cases. RTI (right to information) rules are being changed and transparency hampered. Let’s accept official government reports than any surveys with vague assertions and whose veracity is questionable. Recent media reports themselves have indicated at 67% jump in corruption cases,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress spokesperson.
“Perceptions are created by communications but it’s even more impactful and credible when it comes from the top. This has been Modi Government’s plan. It’s worked quite well and reiterations on multiple platforms helps. But the delivery systems are still weak. Yet anecdotally many shakedowns for bribes, continue to happen. So it’s not yet fully credible at all levels, even though the frequency of encountering corruption has reduced and brazen demands are less frequent,” said Dilip Cherian, founder of Perfect Relations.
Anuja, Gyan Varma and Sounak Mitra contributed to the story