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81% NRIs pay bribes in India, says report

A survey held among NRIs in the US, says they paid bribes at some stage or the other in India, reports Ashok Das.
Hindustan Times | By Ashok Das, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON JUL 13, 2007 06:12 PM IST

After Transparency International picked us as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, it is now turn of the NRIs to feel the same.

A survey conducted among sections of NRIs in USA have revealed that 81 per cent of them had paid bribes at some stage or other in India.

The survey was conducted on July 7 among scores of NRIs, who attended the annual meeting of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) at Washington DC. The survey was the brainchild of Association for India’s Development (AID), a non-profit organization, which has been running an “Anti-Corruption Campaign” for sometime now.

The survey found out that NRIs paid bribe at three stages: while leaving India to go abroad, while coming back home and thirdly, while in India.

“While leaving India, they pay bribe to get international drivers permit and passports, while re-entering India at the customs, and while in India for getting land records. These were the top corruption hot-spots in every NRI mind.” AID said in its report.

And how about the use of the Rights To Information (RTI) Act to fight red tape and corruption. A whopping 75 per cent of the surveyed NRIs have not heard of it.

Some NRIs complained that that their parents were not getting the pension due to bureaucratic corruption and they suffered silently as they did not know what to do.

“They (NRI respondents) were pleasantly surprised when informed that the RTI Act has been successfully used by common people in India to get pensions, ration cards etc, without paying bribes.” AID said.

The non-profit organization claimed that due to its efforts the Indian embassy in Washington DC had begun to accept RTI applications from Indian citizens in the USA for a fee of 24 cents. The NRIs can directly write to the Public Information Officer at the embassy asking for their parents pension status as well as seek the name of the officer, who is delaying the release of pension.

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