Every fourth Indian has paid a bribe in the past year, an influential annual survey by a leading anti-corruption watchdog said in its report released in Berlin on Thursday.
India emerged as the world’s 18th most corrupt country on the basis of the percentage of its people paying bribes in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2007.
African, East European and Latin American countries are ahead of India in the corruption index.
Cameroon is the most corrupt, with a whopping 79 per cent of its population having paid a bribe in the course of the past year.
Pakistan is the world’s sixth most corrupt: 44 per cent of its people having paid a bribe in the past 12 months.
Worldwide, an average 25 per cent of people have been asked to pay a bribe to the police, and political parties and parliaments are the most tainted by corruption. The poor are targeted for bribes in both developed and developing countries.
The study “has made it clear that too often, people must part with their hard-earned money to pay for services that should be free,” Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle said. “And they do not see enough commitment when they look to their governments and leaders.”
Transparency polled more than 63,000 people in 60 countries between June and September 2007. Among them, 1,069 were from India.
Seventy-six per cent respondents perceived that the prevalence of corruption in the political parties is the most, followed by police (72%). The military was perceived to be the least corrupt.
As compared to 2006, all sectors except the military, have been perceived to have become more corrupt.
Forty-five per cent of people have paid bribes personally in educational services and the police, followed by registry/permit (42%), and medical services (39%).
The study found that the countries with the highest level of petty bribery, with 30 percent of respondents reporting paying bribes, were Albania, Cambodia, Cameroon, Macedonia, Kosovo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania and Senegal.
Judges in many countries are happy to take a bribe in return for dismissing a case or influencing a verdict in a court case. In Pakistan, 96 per cent of those questioned reported corrupt practices in courts.