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 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%).
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.
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.
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%).