Public opinion on corruption worsening in South Asia: survey

Global Corruption Barometer 2013 report by Transparency International shows people in South Asia feel governments have failed to check corruption  

By Ravi Bajpai
Published: Tuesday 09 July 2013

At least three in every five people in many South Asian countries feel corruption levels have increased over the past two years, with many believing their governments are proving ineffective in tackling the menace, according to a new survey released on Tuesday.

The findings are part of the Global Corruption Barometer 2013, a public opinion survey by Transparency International, in which at least 114,000 people across 107 countries were contacted for their views on corruption. The survey is based purely on public opinion, unlike the more popular 'Corruption Perception Index', released every year by the organisation, which is based on expert analysis.

The survey results show public perception in South Asia on corruption is far more discouraging than the world average. People in the region are more disillusioned with the government and its institutions than their western counterparts, with countries even within South Asia differing widely on key parameters.

Change in corruption level in the last two years

Almost three in every four people in India, Nepal and Pakistan believe corruption has worsened in the past two years, much above the world average of one in two people feeling so.

In India, many big ticket government programmes and schemes have courted controversy over the past five years, including the 2G spectrum scam and the scam relating to award of contracts for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Street protests against corruption in the past two years have underscored public sentiment against corruption.

Bangladesh seems to have somewhat bucked the trend with nearly 27 per cent of the respondents in the country saying they feel corruption has decreased in the past two years. The corresponding world average is 18 per cent.

Percentage of total respondents in a country. Click on drop-down menu for more parameters

Which organisations are the most corrupt

The Nepalese are the most disillusioned with the government and its institutions when it comes to corruption. In South Asia, it has the highest percentage of respondents who feel the government, parliament, bureaucrats and the judiciary are corrupt.

According to the survey, Bangladeshis have the maximum faith in their military on the corruption yardstick in the region, while trust in religious bodies and the education system is least in India when compared to its regional counterparts.

Percentage of total respondents in a country. Click on drop-down menu to view all parameters

How effective is your government in tackling corruption

Pakistanis have the least faith in their government's effectiveness in reducing corruption, with two in every three persons (69 per cent) surveyed saying it has failed to tackle the menace. Pakistan is closely followed by India, where 68 per cent respondents said the government is unable to contain corruption.

Bangladeshis are mostly unsure about how effectively their government has tackled corruption, with two in every five persons saying they couldn't say whether it was effective or ineffective.

Percentage of total respondents in a country

Most common reason for paying bribe

The most common reason for paying bribe in South Asia is "to speed things up". Two in every three Nepalese, every second Sri Lankan and every third Indian and Bangladeshi surveyed said they had paid bribe to expedite work.

At 22 per cent, Indians paid bribe to procure a cheaper service more often than any of their South Asian counterparts, the corresponding global average being 12 per cent.

Percentage of total respondents in a country. Click on drop-down menu to view all parameters

How important are personal contacts in dealings with public sector

Knowing an insider appears to be rather effective in getting work done in the public sector the world over. Two in every three people surveyed globally believe personal contacts are important in dealings with the public sector.

South Asia seems to be following the trend, with almost three in every four Pakistani, Nepalese and Bangladeshi saying it pays to have an acquaintance to get work done in the public sector.

Percentage of total respondents in a country. Click on drop-down menu to view all parameters

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