Leaders in India and Sri Lanka had fallen short of the “bold promises” they made to combat corruption, said Berlin-based NGO Transparency International, as it published its annual report and index on perceptions of public sector corruption in 168 countries for 2015.
While India maintained the same score (38 out of a 100, where 100 represents no corruption) for perceptions of corruption as it had in 2014, in the index itself India rose to 76th from 85th in 2014, where 1 marks the country perceived as least corrupt. It stood at the same position as Brazil, but seven places above China, and well above Russia, which came in at 119th.
Transparency International noted that a majority of countries on the list had seen their score improve, as citizen-led protest movements against corruption piled pressure on governments.
“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough,” said Jose Ugaz, Transparency International’s Chair.
The report noted the huge demand for action against corruption in the Asia-Pacific region, and called on governments to act. “This year’s poor results demand that leaders revisit the genuineness of their efforts. They must fulfil promises and ensure efforts aren’t undermined in practice,” the report said.
India’s relatively steady performance contrasted with that of Brazil, which was down seven positions. While Denmark topped the list, North Korea and Somalia ranked last.
The closely watched annual index uses 12 sets of data collected from organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum to build up a picture of the perceptions of business people and country experts.
Among the characteristics shared by the top performers list were high levels of press freedom, transparency about budgets, high levels of public sector integrity and fair and independent judiciaries.
The NGO, however, cautioned that a clean public sector record at home didn’t necessarily translate into a good performance abroad.
“Over half the OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad,” it noted.