Corruption index: India scores low on integrity (Lead)

November 17th, 2009 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) India has been ranked as low as 84 among 180 countries on the integrity score, continuing to be perceived as a highly corrupt nation in the world, by global corruption watchdog Transparency International in its latest survey Tuesday.
The ranking means that 83 other countries are less corrupt than India.

“India’s integrity score stands at 3.4 on a scale of 0 (perceived as highly corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt),” according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2009 prepared by the Berlin-based Transparency International, an independent organisation tracking prevalence of corruption worldwide.

India’s integrity score last year was the same. In 2007, its score was a notch better at 3.5, says the survey.

“It (India’s integrity score) is not terribly flattering but I draw some comfort from the fact that it has not become worse,” Admiral (retd) K.S. Tahiliani, who heads the Transparency International India chapter, told reporters.

The survey, which finds New Zealand with an integrity score of 9.4 the least corrupt nation, was released globally simultaneously Tuesday.

Nearly half of 180 countries have scored three or even below. Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq are perceived to be the most corrupt countries in that order.

Tahiliani said that rampant corruption among politicians in India was one of the reasons why India was globally perceived to be so low in integrity.

He said the waving of bundles of currency notes by MPs in parliament last year has caused a dent in India’s image.

“Some high-profile politicians, I will not name them, have been found amassing huge wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income, which has also played a role in this global perception of India,” Tahiliani said.

Transparency International has found that a “strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to exist, which jeopardizes the global fight against poverty”.

“At the end of the day it is the marginalised farmer and labourer who is paying the price,” Tahiliani said, adding that corruption is “principally a symbol of bad governance”.

Anupama Jha, the executive director of Transparency International India, said ranking it was a matter of concern for the nation as the global corruption perception was badly affecting foreign investment in the country.

“India needs foreign direct investment but the way the world perceives us impacts our efforts to attract FDI. We are receiving a good share of FDI but if we improve on our integrity score we can attract a lot more,” Jha told IANS.

Jha said police and land records and registration were the most corrupt departments in India as found in a survey done last year.

“We didn’t survey politicians,” she said.

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