50% respondents said bribe seeking in retail reduced during AAP govt: survey
Did your vegetable vendor tell you that he was not asked any bribe by police or municipal authorities during the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) 49-day government? If so, he was possibly right.
A survey by an advocacy organisation for transparency has claimed that as many as 50% respondents revealed that the incidence of seeking bribe in retail had reduced during the AAP government. The study was aimed at studying the extent of payoffs by street vendors, hawkers, petty traders, rickshaw pullers and truck and auto drivers.
Further, whopping 64% respondents said they found a marked difference in the attitude of the officials/inspectors in Delhi asking for bribe. “There was hesitation and diffidence,” it said.
The survey 'Retail Bribery in Delhi' that interviewed 1,500 respondents across Delhi on February 8 and 9 was undertaken by the Initiatives for Transparency and Accountability (ITA). The AAP government resigned on February 14.
The ITA is a brainchild of Anupama Jha, who was till recently working with Transparency International, India (TI-India).
This was the same study that AAP leader Shazia Ilmi had mentioned during one of her public meetings two weeks ago claiming it was done by TI-India. But when TI sent a disclaimer about no such study being conducted, the AAP clarified Ilmi had made the claim assuming Jha was still with the TI.
Asserting that the survey was not commissioned by either the AAP or the TI, Jha said, “It was entirely a study by the ITA conducted after 40 days of AAP rule, to study the extent of retail bribery faced by people in their day-to-day life and served as stock taking for the bribe-free society the party mentioned in its manifesto.”
“There is a difference between ‘corruption’ at high level and ‘bribe seeking-giving’ at the level of retail. Our focus was only the bribery at retail level as it directly affects the most vulnerable strata of the society. Our respondents were those depended on the various arms of the government for basics and also for the need-based services,” she said.
The study also found out, without quantification: more men paid bribe then women; most bribe payers ranged in the 27- 50 years age group; most bribe payers were unskilled laborers, street vendors, auto and truck drivers.
Another important mention was that the respondents perceived police, municipal employees, Delhi Development Authority and Regional Transport Officials were considered most corrupt departments.
“However, our respondents also said, most of them had not used the anti-corruption help line introduced by the AAP government,” Jha said, and added, “E-governance services and information disclosure, to ensure minimum interface between government officials and general public can be one of the methods to improve governance.”