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New corruption survey says 56% Indians admitted to paying a bribe in last one year

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Property registration and land issue authorities found to be most corrupt departments, cash dominated as primary mode of paying bribe.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government might have a stated anti-corruption stance but a new survey Thursday found that 56% of Indians admitted to paying bribes to avail citizen services in the last one year, a rise of 11 percentage points from 2017.

The online survey — India Corruption Survey 2018 — was conducted by LocalCircles in collaboration with Transparency International India and reviewed over 1.6 lakh responses from over 50,000 citizens.

Earlier, India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index 2017, released by Transparency International, also fell two places to 81 out of 180 countries.

Also read: Anti-corruption activists rarely pay attention to the role of middlemen in Ind

Survey findings

Property registration and land issue authorities were found to be the most corruption-prone departments, receiving 30% of the total bribes in terms of value.

The police forces followed with 25% and other municipal corporations such as the electricity board, transport office, tax office etc received 18%. The trend appeared to shift from 2017 when 30% bribes were paid to the police, 27% to municipality authorities and 27% to property registration.

Cash continued to remain the primary mode of paying a bribe, two years after the Modi government’s demonetisation policy, with 39% of the respondents saying they paid “direct cash”.

A shocking 91 per cent of respondents were found to be unaware about their state anti-corruption helpline, with 58 per cent saying that the helpline doesn’t even exist in their state.

The survey noted that despite increased surveillance through upgraded technology, cases of bribery have not decreased, largely because government offices have been slow on the Digital India uptake.

Only 13% of the surveyed citizens said they paid a bribe in a government office that had CCTVs installed. However, corruption in ‘all-paper offices’ reduced from 25% in 2017 to 18% in 2018.

Most corrupt states

Of the 13 states in which the survey was conducted, Gujarat, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh were found to be the least corrupt, while Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu were found to be the most corrupt.

In Uttar Pradesh, 59 per cent respondents said they paid a bribe in the last one year to get work done in government offices. Punjab followed with 56 per cent while Tamil Nadu rounded off the top three with 52 per cent.

In all three states, a majority of people admitted to paying bribes to property registration and land issue authorities.

In the state of Delhi, where the Arvind Kejriwal government came to power on the sole promise of fighting corruption, 46 per cent respondents said they paid a bribe in the last one year in a government office.

Also read: What Indian voters buy with ‘bribes’ just before elections: Booze, good food & clothes

New efforts

With the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018, being passed in Parliament in July, the government’s efforts appear to be in tandem with their plans to transform the anti-corruption regime in the country.

The new law makes bribery punishable with up to seven years of imprisonment, implicating both the giver and receiver.

However, 41% of the participants in the survey were of the opinion that the amended law won’t have much effect.

Further, 82 per cent Indians said no or ineffective steps were taken by their respective state governments to reduce corruption.

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  1. When govt servants demand bribes to do mandated work, non payment only means legitimate work will not get done. In most cases Sub registrar is a political appointment.
    And all media houses have to pay the piper for licensed and its renewal, so such articles cleverly show only the tip of the iceberg. Practically no one in this country goes thru life without coming across this corruption.

  2. One sees the underlying truth of Minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent Marathi dialogue. When things don’t change on the ground, with the humblest of citizens having unchanged life experiences, spin and hype begin to pall and fall away.

  3. Such survey has no value with some states least or most corrupt. As long as people are selfish and want to jump queue to get the job done, corruption would as takers and givers are those who have no moral value. Even to get death certificate in Hyderabad the Sanitory assistant who came to our house for verification about the application filed by me has taken money and still not completed work as there is a small alphabet missing in Cremation ground certificate and aadhaar card of the deceaed. It is more than six months now. Thankfully our relative has left no property or virtually no bank balance. While I application for stopping her pension was immediately processed without much fuss.

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