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India slips two ranks in corruption index: Report finds country among "worst" offenders for persecuting journos, activists

Ranking for the year 2017
By Our Representative
Even as India is shown slipping by two points to the 81st rank among 180 countries from 79th a year earlier, the new Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2017 has regretted that the country finds itself in the company of the Philippines and Maldives for being “among the worst regional offenders” where “journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered.”
“These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist death”, the CPI report says, adding, “In the last six years, 15 journalists working on corruption stories in these countries were murdered, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).”
Among the comparable BRICS countries, while Brazil (96th) and Russia (135th) than India (81st), China (77th) and South Africa (71st) perform better. The biggest consolation for India is, India’s neighbours rank worse: Pakistan 117th, Bangladesh, 143rd, Sri Lanka 91st, and Nepal 112nd.
Worked out by Transparency International, a Berlin-based international NGO, CPI aggregates data from a number of different sources that provide perceptions by business people and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector. The data sources are taken from 12 different institutions, which include the Economist Intelligence Unit, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
Ranking for the year 2016
It seeks to analyze bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain, nepotism in the civil service, the government’s ability to enforce integrity mechanisms, the effective prosecution of corrupt officials, red tape and excessive bureaucratic burden, existence of adequate laws on financial disclosure, and so on.
This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest, while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest. The best performing region is Western Europe, while the worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The CPI report says, “This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index highlights that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out.”
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. On a scale of 100, India’s score is 40, worse than the global average of 43.
As for Asia-Pacific region, the report says, “From top scorers like New Zealand and Singapore, to some of the worst scorers like Cambodia, North Korea and Afghanistan, more than half of the countries in the Asia Pacific score less than 50 on the index. In fact, on average, the region scores just 44.”
“While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, which both experienced their share of scandals in the last year, our analysis reveals little progress across the region. In the last six years, only a few countries experienced small, incremental changes indicating signs of improvement”, the report says. adding, “For example, while Afghanistan rates very low on the index, its score increased by seven points in the last six years, moving from 8 in 2012 to 15 in 2016 and 2017.”
“Similarly, the report says, “Indonesia has a long way to go in the fight against corruption. However, it too climbed up the index, moving from 32 to 37 in the last five years, an overall increase of five points. This slight improvement could stem from the work of Indonesia’s leading anti-corruption agency in taking action against corrupt individuals, despite strong opposition from the government and parliament.”

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