India goes up three notches in Global Corruption Index

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) India has improved its ranking by three positions in the Global Corruption Index 2018 released on Tuesday while the US has dropped out of top 20 countries for the first time since 2011.

India, which was ranked 81st in 2017, is ranked 78 in 2018, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by the Transparency International.

Denmark and New Zealand topped the 2018 index while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan were at the bottom respectively.

China, which was ranked 77 in 2017, dropped 10 positions and is ranked 87 in 2018. However, Pakistan, which was ranked 117 in 2017, is at the same position in 2018.

“As India gears up for its upcoming elections, we see little significant movement in its CPI score, which moved from 40 in 2017 to 41 in 2018. Despite spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded that the government take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act, these efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required,” the Transparency International said in a press release.

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It said that despite stagnation and declines in the 2018 scores, there are promising political developments within the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Malaysia (47), Maldives (31), Pakistan (33) and India (41) that will be important to watch moving forward.

“In all four countries, massive public mobilisation against corruption coupled with significant political participation and voter turnout resulted in new governments that promise extensive anti-corruption reforms. However, despite these encouraging developments, we are yet to see how this translates into solid action, especially when it comes to combating elusive forms of grand corruption.”

The CPI reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.

The Transparency International said that cross analysis with global democracy data reveals a link between corruption and the health of democracies. “Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI, with no full democracy scoring less than 50. In 2016, the United States was downgraded from a full to a flawed democracy in the Democracy Index, a gradual downward trend which started in 2008. In 2018, the US received its lowest Freedom in the World Index score for political rights since 1972, when measurement began.”

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“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption,” it noted.

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 20 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Estonia and Côte D’Ivoire, and 16 have significantly declined, including, Australia, Chile and Malta,” the release said.

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It said that the US has dropped four points since last year with a score of 71. “This marks the first time since 2011 that the US falls outside of the top 20 countries on the CPI.”

The CPI measures public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives to give each country a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

–IANS

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