Stung by Transparency International’s report showing India unexpectedly slip from 72 to 85 in the list of world’s corruption-plagued countries, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has sought a clarification from the global watchdog, disputing the claim and level of transparency in arriving at the conclusion.
“The 2008 survey came as a surprise to us. Since India's corruption index had shown a marginal improvement in previous years, the latest report left us wondering how could we suddenly slip to such a level and a perception was created that we have become more corrupt,” said a top CVC official.
Though the Commission formally sought a reply from the global watchdog on the methodology adopted in grading a country “more corrupt and less corrupt”, the official informed that the Commission did not get any convincing reply. “They said they follow certain methodologies but didn’t tell us which are those.”
Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, when contacted, confirmed that the CVC had strongly taken up with the matter with the Transparency International. "Immediately after the report was out, we took up the matter with their top officials. However, they didn't have proper answers. They were quite uncomfortable when we went into the specifics," the CVC added.
Another CVC member told HT: "After our efforts, what we got was just a vague reply — more in the realm of speculation. They told us that open display of currency notes by MPs in the Parliament might have affected the perception," another vigilance commissioner said. “But we aren’t convinced.They can't go by just one incident,” he added.
However, the officials rule out a deliberate attempt to malign India, though they say investor sentiment can be influenced by such rankings.
Asked how Transparency International (India) reacts to the CVC’s concern, its vice chairman S. K. Agarwal said its processes were transparent and considered various factors including perception of multinational executives.
A few months back, the Transparency International said India's integrity score had fallen from 3.5 in 2007 to 3.4 in 2008, indicating that corruption has further increased in the country. The watchdog said that Corruption Perception Index was prepared on the basis of surveys conducted in 180 countries by 13 international agencies associated with it.