New Delhi: India’s ranking in the annual corruption index, released by Berlin-based non-government organisation Transparency International (TI), slid to 81 among a group of 180 countries. The Corruption Perception Index 2017 also singled out India as one of the “worst offenders” in the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2016, India was in the 79th place among 176 countries. India’s ranking in the index had plummeted in 2013 and 2014 in the wake of the spectrum and coal scams. The ranking has improved since then, but seems to be showing signs of weakening.
The index, which measures perception of corruption in the public sector, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. India’s score remained intact at 40 points in both 2016 and 2017.
New Zealand and Singapore scored the highest scores with 89 and 84 out of 100, respectively. Somalia was found to be the most corrupt country in the world. A majority of the world’s countries scored below 50 on the index with the global average score coming at around 43. India’s score of 40 in 2017 puts it below the global average.
Transparency International said the results from the 2017 index show that corruption in many countries is still strong. In some countries across the Asia-Pacific region, journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in worst cases, even murdered, the report stated.
“Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect. These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths,” it added.
In the last six years alone, 15 journalists working on corruption stories were murdered in these Asian countries, TI pointed out using figures reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Globally, more than 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index.
TI said it found crackdowns on non-government organisations (NGOs) and media were associated with higher levels of corruption in the world.
“Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director, TI.
The 2017 index revealed that despite attempts to combat corruption, most countries were moving too slowly with their effort. In the past six years, many countries have made little to no progress, TI said.livemint