Over the past several decades, corruption has been apart and parcel of daily life in India. While the introduction of systems in public services has largely reduced corruption in centralised services like securing a passport or buying a railway ticket, most citizen services at the state and local levels are still ridden with bribery and kickbacks.Get Moneylife’s
Top Stories by EmailSUBSCRIBE No wonder, as many as 51% of Indians admitted paying a bribe in past 12 months. The survey shows that top three corruption prone departments are property registration and land issues, police and municipal corporation.
According to a survey jointly conducted by LocalCircles and Transparency International (India), 24% citizens admitted to giving bribes several times in the last 12 months and 27% admitted to paying bribes once or twice. About 16% said they always managed to get work done without paying a bribe while 33% said they did not have a need.
This survey called ‘India Corruption Survey 2019’ received 190,000 responses from people located in 248 districts of India has brought out citizen pulse at the national level at for 20 states. According to the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018, giving a bribe is an offence with up to seven years of imprisonment or fine or both. India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by Transparency International, had improved three places compared to last year and now stands at 78th position out of 180 countries.
As per the survey, cash is still the primary mode used to pay bribes with 35% saying they paid cash as bribes in the last 12 months to get their work done. “About 44% citizens said that they paid a bribe in an office that had computerisation while 16% said that they paid a bribe despite the office having a functional close circuit television (CCTV) system in place. This is very concerning as it indicates that despite the introduction of systems, bribery is continuing,” says LocalCircles and Transparency International, in a release. The survey revealed that 38% citizens had to pay a bribe as it was the only way to get work done while 48% said their state government or local administration did not take any steps to reduce corruption in the last 12 months.
Property registration and land issues turned out to be the largest authority where citizens had to pay a bribe, with 26% citizens voting for it, the survey reveals, adding only 12% citizens said bribery in property registration and land issues has reduced in the last 12 months. Around 49% said bribery is continuing like before and 8% said it has increased, while 9% said they did not need to pay a bribe. When it came to demanding of bribes for work related to the municipality or local bodies, 10% citizens said it has reduced while 44% said it is continuing like before.About 11% said bribery to police has reduced while 11% said it has increased.
Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa and Odisha turned out to be the states where citizens reported low instances of corruption, while Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab were the states where citizens reported higher instances of corruption.