India improves a notch, US out of top 20 performers in global corruption index: Report
India had improved a point and rose three positions up on a global corruption index in 2018 while the United States slid four points lower, dropping out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011, watchdog Transparency International said in a report.
“Corruption Perceptions Index 2018”, the group’s latest report on business leaders’ perceptions of corruption, had India marginally improve its score to 41 (from 40 in 2017), and its position to 78 out of 180 countries in 2018 against 2017’s 81st, where it had slid from 79 in 2016.
Listing India along with Malaysia (47), Maldives (31), Pakistan (33) among the countries in the Asia-Pacific region “that will be important to watch moving forward”, the report said that in “all four countries, massive public mobilisation against corruption coupled with significant political participation and voter turnout resulted in new governments that promise extensive anti-corruption reforms”.
“However, despite these encouraging developments, we are yet to see how this translates into solid action, especially when it comes to combatting elusive forms of grand corruption,” it added.
About India, it said, that as the country “gears up for its upcoming elections, we see little significant movement in its CPI score, which moved from 40 in 2017 to 41 in 2018”.
“Despite spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded that the government take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act, these efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required.”
The Asia-Pacific region included top performers like New Zealand on the second position worldwide with a score of 87 (Denmark topped with a score of 88), Singapore at number 3 with 85 points, Australia at no 13 with 77 and Japan at no 18 at 73.
Other top performers around the world were Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. The best performer in South America was Uruguay at number 23 with a score of 70 and in Africa, Botswana topped with 61 points and the 34th position.
The United States was at 71, down from 75. That sounds a “wake-up call” about the need to tackle conflicts of interest, undue influence of the private sector and widening gaps between rich and poor, Zoe Reiter, the watchdog’s acting representative to the United States, told Reuters.
Somalia, Syria and South Sudan remained at the bottom, with scores of 10, 13 and 13, Transparency International said.
Overall, more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on the 2018 index, and the average was 43, it said.
Transparency International also said its analysis showed a clear link between having a healthy democracy and fighting public sector corruption, and cited declining scores for Turkey and Hungary, in connection with challenges to the rule of law and press freedoms.
“Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and ... where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, who chairs the global civil society group.