Delhi's poorest paid enough bribes over the last 12 months | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi's poorest paid enough bribes over the last 12 months

Corruption in our grand and sprawling city is legend, but a new survey has revealed how the poorest are bearing its brunt, reports Nivedita Khandekar. Click here for the survey

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2008 17:27 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Corruption in our grand and sprawling city is legend, but a new survey has revealed how the poorest are bearing its brunt.

Here’s the official definition of living below the poverty line in Delhi: Earning less than Rs 10 a day.

There are 4.5 lakh such households in Delhi — about 15 per cent of our city’s population — and over the last 12 months, 18 per cent of them have paid bribes of Rs 2.96 crore, a survey has revealed.

It gets worse.

More than half of the poorest households, officially called BPL or below-poverty-line households, did not have cards that allow them to buy subsidised food.

Further, 60 per cent of the poorest households surveyed (yes, there could be more) said corruption in public offices of the government is real since they experienced it first hand or know it exists, while 38 per cent thought that corruption was only hearsay, says the survey, titled ‘Perception and Experience of Corruption: Delhi (among BPL households) 2007’.

The findings are part of a nationwide survey carried out by advocacy group Transparency International India and the Centre for Media Studies based in Delhi. Since the poorest households are far more dependent than others on public services provided by the government, a total of 11 such services — five basic and four need-based — were considered during the study.

The basic services included the public distribution system, hospital services, electricity, school education and water supply while the need-based services included banking, police, land record/registration and housing.

Over 75 per cent of the households below the poverty line felt the level of corruption had either increased or remained the same during the last one year. Only a little less than one- fourth felt corruption had declined.

However, when it came to incidence of corruption, in case of basic services, only 7-18 per cent of such households actually paid bribe or used contact to get work done.

In case of need-based services, the percentage of BPL household paying bribes and using contact varied greatly, from 7 per cent in case of banking to 45 per cent in case of police.