Survey: 43% Indians paid bribes in the last one year
If you thought corruption in India is on a downward trajectory, a recent survey by LocalCircles will tell you otherwise.
Almost half of the one lakh respondents said they had paid bribes in the last one year, mostly to access government services.
For over one-third, it was the only way to get work done.
So, are the government's anti-corruption measures making a difference?
Corruption in India still at alarming levels
What did the survey find?
The poll had eight questions. Results found that 84% respondents paid bribes to government officials at local levels including police, municipal and VAT officers and more.
About 20% said refusing would have delayed services.
Over half the respondents felt local governments hadn't done anything to reduce corruption. 42% think measures taken were ineffective.
Bribery has in fact increased from last year
Almost 40% said they paid bribes directly in cash; the rest did so in gifts/favors or through agents. 45% said there were no computers/CCTVs in place in the offices. The overall figure had increased: in 2016, 43% had reported paying a bribe.
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Two months ago, India was ranked Asia's most corrupt nation
A study by Transparency International (TI) had similar findings: a Forbes list of 'Asia's Five Most Corrupt Countries' ranked India at the top with 69% bribery rate, followed by Vietnam (65%), Thailand (41%), Pakistan (40%) and Myanmar (40%).
In business too, the EMEIA Fraud Survey-2017 found 78% respondents had claimed bribery is rampant. India was ranked ninth among 41 countries in corruption.
Have the government's actions made any difference to corruption?
The Modi government has waged a war against corruption and black money including by demonetizing high-denomination banknotes.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it broke the high-cash economy and reduced the capacity to fund terror activities.
However, a UN report revealed that it didn't help curb black money; for the purpose, demonetization had to be followed by other measures to unearth undeclared wealth and assets.
Still, Modi's efforts have had some effect on perception
Nonetheless, the TI 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.