Corruption Perception Index- Can it be relied?

It was early morning 3.30 a.m. I thought it is going to be good day after I completed reading few ‘slokas’ of Gita before I started surfing news. The first news itself enthralled me.

Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog, has brought a good news this year. India ranks now No. 70 on its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) out of 163 nations, a distinct improvement over last year, when India was at No 88.

And there are already people to give the credit of this reversal of its downward slide on the CPI, to the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

However, Vice-Admiral (retd.) RH Tahiliani, president of TI-India appeared pessimist. “Indians give Rs 21,000 crore every year as bribes,” he said.

US is ranked at No.20 (7.3). India shares the 70th rank with nine other countries including China, Brazil and Egypt, all of whom have scored the same (3.3). Lesser score implies more corruption. Should the nationalists be happier that Pakistan is ranked at 142 (2.2)?

TI’s Corruption Perception Index draws its conclusion from multiple expert opinion survey polls that compiled perceptions of public sector corruption from across 163 countries. It involves a total of 12 agencies as source to the survey, which includes World Bank, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, UN Economic Commissions for Africa, World Economic Forum and World Markets Research Centre as source to survey. The survey in India covered 11 public departments that included police and judiciary as well as education and hospitals.

Should Indians take some solace that thing are improving though slowly? I personally go by R H Tahiliani, Chairman, Transparency International India that “corruption would only go down if people refuse to pay bribe”

I was pretty delighted and as usual I left for my morning walk after Yamuna returned. In my third round, my acquaintance Gehlot joined me. He is still a superintending engineer in PWD, UP. Gehlot respects me and discusses things pretty frankly. I wanted to have his views on a recent incident in nearby Ghaziabad in which some 17,000 aspirants of police jobs went on rampant destruction of property including molestation of women. As Gehlot knows the region for many years with number of relatives in the area, I thought he would be better informed. I was shocked by his version of the reasons for the incident.
“Sir, what can these people do if they can’t get the job for which each of them had already paid Rs 4 lakh?”

“How do, you know that?”
” Sir, I had gone myself for the appointment of the son of my driver to the people representative of the area who could get that done. He told me curtly that I was a little too late.”

I was reminded of what Pathak one of my office assistants of HM days told me, when I was in Kolkata last time. He has got his only son in navy. He had to pay Rs50, 000. I never believed that there is so much of corruption in appointment to so low category a job.

On enquiry, he further added that 90% of the contracts for development work that are in abundance these days, are going to one community Yadav in UP. None can raise his voice. All these contractors pay 10% of the contract value in advance to the minister, who happens to be the brother of the CM. Should I be happy or morose after hearing the story from Gehlot?

I remember my PhD friend and rice mill owner at Kichha telling me that 60 % of the output of the mill are to be given to FCI and for that a fixed 26% of the value must be paid to the officer of FCI(Food Corporation of India).

What should I think about the improved Corruption Perception Index of India?

I shall keep my hope. I further read the text of a cryptic SMS that Bihar DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha sent to senior police officers, including district SPs, over the past few days

”Ask your officers to be honest. Trap cases against police on the rise. It’s denting the image…”: DGP

As report comes from Bihar, the most corrupt of the states, the raids against bribe takers have jolted the state police headquarters to cause enough worry about image. Even Bihar CM seems buoyed by the success.

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