India the most corrupt nation in Asia, study finds
The Narendra Modi government has launched several schemes to combat corruption, but if findings by anti-corruption body Transparency International are anything to go by, they don't seem to have had much practical effect. A Forbes list of 'Asia's Five Most Corrupt Countries' ranks India at the top with 69% bribery rate, followed by Vietnam (65%), Thailand (41%), Pakistan (40%) and Myanmar (40%).
Over 50% respondents had to pay bribes in most spheres
Over 18 months, Transparency International talked to over 20,000 people in 16 countries in Asia Pacific. For India, the Forbes article says, "In five of six public services- schools, hospitals, ID documents, police, and utility services- more than half the respondents have had to pay a bribe." India had the highest bribery rates for access to public schools (58%) and healthcare (59%).
Comparison to previous years: Has there been any improvement?
Last year, Transparency International had ranked India 76 out of 168 countries in the Corruption Perception Index. For 2015 and 2014, the rank stayed the same at 38/100.
But PM Modi's efforts have had some result
Though India topped the Asia list, the study noted that Modi's anti-corruption initiatives had made an impression on the people: 53% feel the government is doing well in fighting graft. That has led to a sense of empowerment: 63% think ordinary people can make a difference. However, at some level, Indians are also blind towards the main problem: only 41% think corruption has increased.
How did Pakistan and China fare?
Pakistan came 4th with 40% bribery rate. "Of the people who encountered either police or courts, nearly 7/10 had to pay bribes," Forbes notes. However, a sense of empowerment is lacking: only one-third feel they can make a difference. Pakistanis are most likely to be asked for bribes in law and order institutions; India did somewhat better (54%). For China it was low (12%).