A survey across11 states in India by corruption watchdog Transparency International saw 45% of the respondents claim they paid a bribe at least once in the past year to get work done. The share was 43% in a similar survey last year.
Nearly 37% of the 34,696 respondents felt corruption had increased, while 14% said it had gone down. Around 45% felt the situation was the same as before. West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh fared the worst vis-a-vis the perception on corruption, with71% of the respondents interviewed there claiming graft had gone up in their states. In Maharashtra, only 18% felt corruption had increased, though 64% said it was status quo.
Delhi had mixed reviews, with 33% saying corruption had gone up and 38% claiming it was the same. However, Delhi also had the distinction of having the maximum number of people vouching for a reduction in corruption: 28%. The only other state that had a high number of respondents claiming a reduction in corruption, 21%, was Uttar Pradesh.
Most of the corruption encountered seemed to be at the local level, said Pankaj Kumar of Transparency International India, which conducted the survey in association with LocalCircles. “A related national poll showed that 84% of the bribery transactions relate to local level bodies and wings of the local government, that is, municipality, police, tax, power, property registration, tenders etc,” said Kumar.
According to Transparency International, only 9% said most of the bribes paid were to central government departments: PF, income tax, service tax, railways etc. “Two per cent said it was paid to the private sector and 5% said it was paid to other parties like for school admissions, NGOs, courts etc.,” added Kumar.
Indicating the huge battle of perception faced by states, 51% said their government did not take any steps in the last one year to reduce corruption. The survey, which came out on UN’s ‘Anti-Corruption Day’, also notedthat nine state are without a Lokayukta.