Corruption and peace are not easy to measure. But some do try it and hence we have annual reports listing countries as most peaceful, least corrupt and so on. Two such reports were released almost simultaneously earlier this month.
The one by Transparency International (TI), a Berlin-based international non-governmental organisation, listed Nepal as the 143rd most corrupt country in the world from among 180 nations.
The Himalayan nation slipped five spots from its previous rank and got the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt country in South Asia. Bhutan (49) was the least corrupt country in the region, while India ranked 84th.
The report on Nepal’s poor rank found mention in small columns on inside pages of newspapers. The country is busy completing the peace process, drafting a new constitution and expecting a change in government.
But peace and political stability are important to bring down level of corruption or the perception of it — the TI list is called Corruptions Perceptions Index. “Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index,” says the report. Unfortunately, Nepal falls in that category and India despite similar if not higher level of corruption is ranked much above.
“Political instability, lawlessness, nepotism and lack of accountability prevail in Nepal and corruption is perceived to be a major concern. An anti-corruption agenda has not become a political and social priority,” it added.
The second report, called Global Peace Index, brought some cheer. Despite the fragile peace process yet to get over, the report by the Sydney-based institute ranks Nepal 82nd from a list of 149 nations.
Although it’s a slide of five ranks from 2009, Nepal is ranked the second most peaceful country in South Asia after Bhutan (36), while India ranks 128th. New Zealand got top rank in both the peace and corruption reports.
Nearly two dozen peace indicators ranging from number of conflicts, level of violent crime, easy access to small arms and military expenditure and three dozen related indicators like gender ratio, literacy rate and infant mortality were also measured to arrive at the result.
Unlike corruption, these indicators on the peace index — apart from level of perceived criminality — are measurable to an extent.