Paradise Papers leak

OVER half of Indians (51 per cent) paid bribe to government officials, including the police, in the country last year, latest data showed.

The report has come when the government vows to create a system without corruption.

Those who responded to the survey questionnaire said bribes were most commonly asked when registering land, property, dealing with the police, and tax and other government officials.

LocalCircles and Transparency International India have concluded their studies to ascertain the level of domestic corruption in the country and gather the citizen pulse on corruption.

The survey called ‘India Corruption Survey 2019’, which received 190,000 responses from people located in 248 districts of India, has brought out the citizen pulse at the national level.

The survey conducted in 20 out of 28 states indicates that 51 per cent Indians paid a bribe in the last 12 months.

However, India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by Transparency International has improved three places compared to last year and now stands at the 78th position out of 180 countries.

Property registration and issues turned out to be the largest authority where citizens had to pay a bribe, with 26 per cent citizens voting for it.

It found that the northwestern Rajasthan state was the most corrupt, with 78 per cent reporting that they had paid some form of bribe.

Meanwhile, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the figure declined to 10 per cent.

The survey suggests that more than 400 million bribes changed hands across the country.

There are 860 million people of working age in India.

Transparency International India said: “Corruption remained part and parcel of daily life in India”, particularly at the lower echelons of the notorious bureaucracy.

Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa and Odisha turned out to be the states where citizens reported low instances of corruption, while Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab were the states where citizens reported higher instances of corruption.

According to India’s Prevention of Corruption Act 2018, giving a bribe is an offence with up to seven years of imprisonment or fine or both.