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India ranks 83 in corruption index

Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram , Oct. 9

INDIA has yielded 12 positions year-on-year to be ranked 83 in the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2003 of 133 countries released by the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI).

Speaking to Business Line, Mr K.P. Joseph, former Accountant-General who was associated with the Indian chapter of TI for a while, said that the ranking hasn't actually changed for India.

"Why we have slid down in 2003 is because of other countries with lesser perceived level of corruption being included - quite a few from the Gulf region. This is clear from the scores for the two years - 2.8 out of 10 this year against 2.7 last year."

Except for Singapore (standing pat at rank no. 5) and, to some extent, Japan (21, down one place this year), Asia has nothing much to write home about in the latest list.

Rather, it faces the ignominy of having to make up the very rear of the list, with Bangladesh at 133. The same was the case CPI 2002, which too had Bangladesh at the bottom at 102.

Other major Asian countries in the list are China (66, last year 59), Malaysia (37, 33), Sri Lanka (66, 52) and Pakistan (92, 77).

Finland maintained the top position in the global rankings, followed by Denmark and New Zealand in that order.

The annual CPI reflects the perceived levels of corruption among politicians and officials in the surveyed countries. Business people, academics and risk analysts, both resident and non-resident, provided the feedback.

Nine out of 10 developing countries score less than five against a clean score of 10 in the CPI 2003.

Seven out of 10 countries score less than five, while five out of 10 developing countries scores less than three, indicating a high level of corruption.

Corruption is perceived to be pervasive in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Haiti, Paraguay, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Georgia, Cameroon, Azerbaijan, Angola, Kenya, and Indonesia, countries with a score of less than two.

Countries scoring higher than nine, with very low levels of perceived corruption, are rich countries like Finland, Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden.

According to Mr Peter Eigen, Chairman, TI, rich countries must provide practical support to developing country Governments that demonstrate the political will to curb corruption.

In addition, those countries starting with a high degree of corruption should not be penalised, since they are in the most urgent need of support.

Developed countries must enforce international conventions to curb bribery by international companies. Private businesses should fulfil their obligations under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, namely to stop bribing public officials around the world.

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