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Bribes sink India to new low

On Transparency International?s Bribe Payers Index for 2006, India stands at the bottom, reports Srinand Jha.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2006 03:32 IST

India has earned the dubious distinction of being ranked the “worst performer” on the Transparency International’s Bribe Payers Index (BPI) for 2006, which enumerates overseas bribery practices amongst exporters of the world’s top 30 exporting countries.

Developing economies, including China and Russia, are also at the bottom of the heap as the second and the third worst performers, while other poor performers include Turkey, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Africa and Brazil.

Analysed on the basis of data collected in an Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and partner institutes, from February to May 2006, the findings of the Transparency International indicate a record of comparatively more ethical business practices among major exporting countries, including Germany and the US.

Switzerland has been shown the best performer, followed by Sweden, Australia, Austria, Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, US and Japan. However, as is emphasised in the study, there are “no real winners”, as even the Organisation of European Cooperation and Development (OECD)-based companies “have continued to bribe, while their governments have been paying lip service to clamp down on overseas bribery”.

“India being judged as the country which bribes the most among exporting countries is a sad reflection on the way the country runs its affairs”, said Transparency International India’s chairman Admiral (Retd.) RH Tahiliani, while advocating a case for the enactment of an Indian law on the patterns of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.

Released every four years, India had not featured in the Transparency International’s earlier two BPI lists of exporting countries, released in 2002 and 1999 respectively. This year’s survey is based on responses obtained from 11,232 representatives from the private sector in those 125 countries, which have a combined Gross Domestic Product representing 98 per cent of the world’s total.

On a scale of 10, countries coming up with the lowest scores have been indicated as being the most corrupt. In the list of 30 countries, India — which has just 0.9 per cent stake in global exports — has recorded the lowest score of 4.62, followed by China (4.94) and Russia (5.16). Switzerland, the best performer, has recorded a score of 7.81.

First Published: Oct 05, 2006 03:27 IST