Corruption perceptions index: In what can be seen as a blow to the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government’s claims of cracking down on corruption, India has slipped in the ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’ from its previous year’s ranking. The index released by Transparency International sees India slip to the 81st spot out of 180 countries from the 79th spot held by the country last year. However, India’s score on the index remained unchanged at 40 out of 100. It must be noted that a nation that scores below 30 is considered to be ‘seriously corrupt’. India’s ranking slipped mainly due to the addition of a new country – Vanuatu, into the list and a comparatively better performance by the other nations.
The point that should concern India the most is that the country has been put “among the worst regional offenders” in the Asia Pacific region. The main reason behind being – the cases of murder of journalists, activists, opposition leaders, law enforcement, and watchdog agencies. India was put into the category along with Philippines and Maldives. The index categorically pointed out that ‘these countries score high for corruption and have lesser press freedom’.
If it is any solace, rankings of other countries like Pakistan, with a score of 32 (rank 117th), and Russia with a score as low as 29 were found to be more corrupt than India. However, China outwitted India with a score of 41 in the index while Bhutan was found out to be the least corrupt country in the Indian subcontinent scoring 67 out of 100 and securing the 26th spot in the index. Bangladesh performed the worst in the sub-continent getting just 28 out of 100. The country was ranked 143rd in the index.
The index was topped by New Zealand once again with a score of 89 while Denmark followed closely securing 88 out of 100. Western Europe with an average score of 66 was found out to be the best performing region in the index.
The rankings and observations in the Transparency International report should worry the Modi government which has claimed to have cracked down on the menace of corruption. It was the promise of clean governance, along with economic reforms, that saw the BJP storm to power in the 2014 elections. Moreover, it is the plank of clean governance that the BJP will look to concentrate on going into 2019. A drop on this factor should sound warning bells for the ruling establishment.