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Bang for the buck

Transparency Internati-onal’s latest rankings, on the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist, hardly do justice to a rising power like India.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2008 22:01 IST

Transparency Internati-onal’s latest rankings, on the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist, hardly do justice to a rising power like India. A ranking of 85 out of 180 countries is an insult to the true potential of the country in this regard. When politicians take great pride in explaining that corruption in India is a global phenomenon, its incidence can hardly be captured as 3.4 on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean). The need, therefore, is for a better yardstick that can accurately reflect the dynamics of this phenomenon on the ground.

Bang for the buck, arguably, fits the bill better. If poverty can be meaningfully measured as the number of those who live on less than a dollar a day, so, too, can corruption. How much of a rupee reaches the intended beneficiaries does reflect the true power and glory of corruption in a way that a mere perception index cannot capture. And do we need better authorities than former Prime ministers and those in waiting.

Out of every rupee, now only five paise reaches beneficiaries of welfare schemes, states the general secretary of the Congress. Twenty-three years earlier, his father modestly put it at 15 paise. Put simply, the country is totally corrupt. And our true ranking befitting a country of our standing and stature ought to be 180, rubbing shoulders with Somalia.