CWG rot sinks India in graft ranking

Watchdog gives an integrity score of 3.3
Last Updated 27 October 2010, 04:36 IST

While the Games exposed that the ruling establishment is far from ensuring clean and corruption-free governance, at a time when it is trying to hardsell the country as an economic giant, TI’s CPI ranking for India has slipped from 84 to 87, an indicator that corruption has reached shocking heights.

India received 3.3 in 2010 in comparison to 3.5 in 2007 and 3.4 in 2008 and 2009 on a scale of 0 to 10 CPI with even Bhutan scoring a high of 5.7.

The survey was done by TI  this year. TI’s India Chairman P S Bawa said the score was an indication that the country continued to be perceived as more corrupt than in the past.

Bawa noted in no uncertain terms that the “level of governance had not improved despite India having a skilled set of administrators.”

He agreed with the general perception that corruption seemed to have increased primarily because of alleged corrupt practices involved in awarding contracts for the Games. What underscores TI’s perception that corruption is endemic in India is the sheer scale and magnitude of the allegations of financial irregularities that have hit several government departments and officials who oversaw the Games.

Four investigating agencies—Central Vigilance Commission, Enforcement Directorate, Income-Tax Department and Comptroller and Auditor General—are probing allegations of corruption against the organisers of the CWG, which concluded here earlier this month.

At the top

According to TI, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are at first place with scores of 9.3. The world’s largest economy, the US, garnered an integrity score of 7.1 and was 22nd on the list.

Among the BRIC countries, Brazil was at 69th position with a score of 3.7 and Russia was 154th with an integrity score of 2.1. Unstable governments, often with a legacy of conflict, continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the CPI.

Afghanistan and Myanmar share two places at the bottom with a score of 1.4, with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1.

Among other South Asian countries, Pakistan is ranked 143th in the list, with an integrity score of 2.3, while Bangladesh is at 134th, with a score of 2.4. Sri Lanka was ranked 91st in the list, with an integrity score of 3.2, while Nepal was 146th (2.3) and Maldives joined Pakistan at 143th place (2.3).

Overall, the 2010 CPI shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score are below five, a clear indication that corruption is perceived to be rampant world-wide.

The CPI is based upon corruption-related data from 13 source surveys published between January 2009 and September 2010, from 10 independent and reputable institutions in the world whose studies are well documented and the methodology published to enable an assessment of their reliability.

While Bawa pointed out that the Benami Transaction Act was passed in 1988 but was yet to be notified, former TI Chairman Admiral (retd) R H Tahiliani said “In India about 31 per cent people living below poverty line do not have access to  BPL cards as they have no money to bribe the government  officials”.

The TI has been seeking  passage of the Lok Pal Bill, the Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill, ratification of the UNCAC and transfer of funds lying in secret bank accounts abroad.

The TI has had Integrity Pact (IP) that has been adopted by only 39 out of 200 public sector undertakings and the Ministry of Defense (none of the PSUs in the states has adopted the IP). The pact was about transparency in procurement and purchase deals in these organisations. In 2008 Transparency had placed Karnataka as one of the most corrupt states in the country.

(Published 26 October 2010, 13:27 IST)

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