India improves its ranking on global corruption index by three points

On Tuesday, January 29, Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption organisation, published its 23rd annual report on the level of corruption across the world. Titled the ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2018’, TI employed experts to rank 180 countries in order of how corrupt their public sectors are on a scale of zero (extremely corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

India has secured the 78th rank, up three places from last year.

This is how the index is calculated

The index uses a combination of “international surveys and assessments of corruption collected by a variety of reputable institutions”. Specifically, it relies on 13 surveys from institutions specialising in governance and business, and “measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide”. The organisation clarifies that the index is “independent, non-political and non-partisan” and has no influence on the data.

How other countries ranked

Leading the watchdog’s list in first place is Denmark, followed by New Zealand at number two. Finland, Singapore, and Sweden are all tied for the third place. The US has dropped out of the top 20 least corrupt countries, ranking 22nd, behind France. NPR reports this is the lowest score US has received in seven years.

India ranked higher than its neighbours––Pakistan is 117th and China 87th on the list, after falling ten places. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping made combating corruption a major point on his platform, NDTV reports that critics claim Xi’s campaign was only a means to “consolidate his power base within the party and the military”.

Overall, in 2018, there was some progress, but more than two-thirds of the countries analysed scored below 50. The organisation said, “Alarmingly, this year’s results also show that corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.” It noted a weakening of public institutions and a rise in populist political candidates who undermine democratic processes.  

Moving forward

TI said India is an important country to watch this year. India has seen “massive public mobilisation against corruption coupled with significant political participation and voter turnout [which] resulted in new governments that promise extensive anti-corruption reforms,” stated the report.

Indians, however, are yet to reap the benefits of any real action against corruption. TI said, “As India gears up for its upcoming elections, we see little significant movement in its CPI score, which moved from 40 in 2017 to 41 in 2018. Despite spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded that the government take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act, these efforts ultimately fizzled [out] and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required.”

TI has recommended diverse policies involving anti-corruption agencies, strong legal infrastructure, and proper enforcement of rules. Without stable and honest democratic institutions, India will continue to rank on the lower end of the scale.

Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius

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