Even as around one-third of the households in India experienced corruption at least once in the last one year, yet the level of petty corruption is on a decline, a new study has found. According to Centre for Media Studies’ (CMS) “Indian Corruption Study”, released on Thursday by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, around 31 per cent households experienced corruption in availing public services in 2017 as against 53 per cent in 2013. “There has been a definite decline in both perception and experience of citizens about corruption in public services between 2005 and 2017,” said the report, adding that 43 per cent of the households covered under the study perceived increase in corruption level in 2017 compared to 43 per cent in 2005.
The study covered around 3,000 households from over 200 rural and urban clusters of 20 states. Ten common public services were covered in the study including public distribution system, electricity, health, school education, water supply, banking, police, judicial services, housing and tax services. “Total amount paid by households across 20 states and 10 public services as bribe is estimated to be Rs 6,350 crore in 2017 against Rs 20,500 crore in 2005,” the report said.
State-wise, most households reported experiencing corruption in Karnataka (77 per cent) followed by Andhra Pradesh (74 per cent), Tamil Nadu (68 per cent), Maharashtra (57 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (44 per cent) and Punjab (42 per cent). CMS Chairman N. Bhaskara Rao said the key reasons for paying bribe in a public service remained consistent between 2005 and 2017 “indicating there has been little focus on ground level issues while addressing corruption”.
While releasng the report, Debroy said the report focuses on everyday corruption which affects the daily lives of citizens rather than the “big-ticket” corruption. He said most of the big-ticket corruption is usually linked with the electoral reforms and allocation of natural resources. While batting for transparency, he said there was also need for subjectivity at higher levels of decision making. “We need to ensure how to punish malafide while simultaneously ensuring protection of bonafide,” Debroy said.