Saturday, May 23, 2015

India's 80% senior executives believe corruption, bribery "happen widely in business", up from 70% last year

By Our Representative
In a new report, one of the world’s most reputed consultants, Ernst and Young (E&Y), have said that nearly 80 per cent of the senior business executives in India think bribery/ corrupt practices “happen widely in business in the country”. Compared to last year, this is up by 10 percentage points. In all, E&Y surveyed 3,800 senior management personnel across 38 countries. The report comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating one year's "corruption-free" Government of India.
The E&Y report further says, 52 per cent of the respondents said, “offering gifts to win business is justifiable to help a business survive”, 27 per cent said “cash payments to win business are justifiable to help a business survive”, and 59 per cent said, “companies often report financial performance better than it.”
As against such high degree of perception of corruption/bribery in India (80 per cent), the average for the 38 countries analyzed is 51 per cent, with only five countries ranking worse than India – Croatia (92 per cent), Kenya (90 per cent), Slovenia (87 per cent), Serbia (84 per cent), and Portugal (82 per cent).
While comparative figures for last year are not available for other countries, in 2014, a similar report by E&Y had found that 70 per cent of Indian respondents said that “bribery and corruption are widespread in the country”, and 72 per cent believed that the management was “likely to cut corners to meet targets.”
Based on this, the 2014 report had, “These findings are consistent with the decline in the ranking of India on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (down from 3.5 to 3.1 and from 72nd to 95th place in the rankings between 2007 and 2011).”
The E&Y’s report, titled “Fraud Survey 2015”, says that in Russia 60 per cent of senior executives responded by saying bribery/corrupt practices happen widely in business, in France percentage  is 29 per cent, in UK it is 27 per cent, and in Sweden it is 10 per cent. The survey confines its analysis to Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. It does not say why it avoids the Americas or other Asian countries, including countries of the Far-East, China and Pakistan.
Significantly, there is virtually no change in the perception of the executives towards getting things done in order to enhance business. The 2014 report had said, “Worryingly, 28 per cent of Indian respondents are willing to make cash payments to win or retain business”, adding, 16 per cent are prepared to misstate financial performance in order to help their business survive.”
“Significantly, businesses need to understand these nuances in order to implement effective integrity and compliance programmes”, the E&Y’s 2015 report says, adding, India’s “increased regulation may not dampen growth.”
Suggesting these most of the “regulations” have happened for good in 2013-14, the report says, the “regulatory changes” include the Companies Act 2013, aimed at creating a better business environment with robust corporate governance standards, and the Lokpal Act, which became effective in January 2014, creating an independent entity to investigate allegations of corruption among government officials.

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