51% citizens paid a bribe in the last 12 months; property registration, police and municipality top areas where bribes are demanded
27th November 2019, New Delhi: : Corruption, over the last several decades has been a part and parcel of daily life in India. While the introduction of systems in public services has largely reduced corruption in centralised services like securing a passport or buying a railway ticket, most citizen services at the state and local levels are still ridden with bribery and kickbacks.
LocalCircles in collaboration with Transparency International India has concluded India Corruption Survey 2019 to ascertain the level of domestic corruption in the country and gather citizen pulse on corruption. This survey has been conducted for the third year in a row and has been compiled in this comprehensive report called the ‘India Corruption Survey 2019’. Approximately 190,000 responses were received across a series of questions at the national and state levels. Over 120,000 responses were received in the national survey while over 70,000 responses were received in the state survey.
India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by Transparency International, has improved 3 places compared to last year and we now stand at 78th position out of 180 countries. According to the 2018 survey, 56% citizens of the country said they had paid bribes, while this year’s survey reveals a definite and noticeable reduction in the number of times bribes are paid by the citizens either directly or indirectly. The reduced percentage of citizens who said they paid a bribe in the last 12 months stands at 51%.
According to the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018, giving a bribe is an offence with up to 7 years of imprisonment or fine or both. In the first question, 24% citizens admitted to giving bribes several times in the last 12 months and 27% admitted to paying bribes once or twice. 16% said they always managed to get work done without paying a bribe while 33% said they did not have a need
Cash is still the primary mode used to pay bribes with 35% saying they paid cash as bribes in the last 12 months to get their work done. 30% said they paid indirectly through an agent and 6% said they paid in form of gifts or other favours. 29% said they did not have a need to pay bribes.
When asked in Government offices where they paid a bribe in the last 12 months how was the working of that office, 16% said it was computerised and had functional CCTVs in place, 28% said it was computerised but had no/defunct CCTVs in place while 19% said it was an all paper office. 37% said they did not need to pay a bribe.
38% citizens said that they paid a bribe as it was the only way to get work done while 26% said it would have taken a long time and effort without a bribe. 37% said they did not have to pay a bribe.
6% in the following poll said that steps have been taken by their state Government or local administration to reduce corruption in the last 12 months and they have been effective while 34% said some steps have been taken but they have largely been ineffective. 48% said no steps have been taken at all.
Last year, the central Government identified some staff in the Finance Ministry who had corruption charges against them and relieved them of their duty. It did the same this year in CBIC and CBDT, hence setting a precedence that corruption in Government departments will not be tolerated. It is imperative that various state Governments follow suit and the coloured employees are separated from the chain. Property registration & land issues turned out to be the largest authority where citizens had to pay a bribe, with 26% citizens voting for it. 19% said police, 13% said municipal corporation, 3% said electricity board, 13% said transport office, 8% said tax department and 5% said water department. 13% said they paid a bribe to other authorities.
17% citizens believe bribery in tax-related matters has reduced in the last 12 months while 6% said it has increased. 38% said it is continuing like before and 33% said they did not have a need to pay a bribe.
Only 12% citizens believe bribery in property registration and land issues has reduced in the last 12 months. 49% said bribery is continuing like before and 8% said it has increased. 9% said they did not need to pay a bribe.
When it came to demanding of bribes for work related to the municipality or local bodies, 10% citizens said it has reduced while 44% said it is continuing like before. 13% said bribery has increased and another 13% said they did not need to pay a bribe in the last year.
19% citizens said they believe bribery in RTO related matters has reduced while 37% said it is the same as before. 9% said it has increased while 14% said they did not have a need to pay a bribe.
11% said bribery to police has reduced while 11% said it has increased. 42% said it is the same as before. 20% did not have a need to pay a bribe. The survey shows that top 3 corruption prone departments are Property Registration & Land Issues, Police and Municipal Corporation.
Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa and Odisha turned out to be the states where citizens reported low instances of corruption, while Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab were the states where citizens reported higher instances of corruption
LocalCircles and Transparency International India together, host India’s Online Anti-Corruption Community ‘Together Against Corruption’ which is the largest platform in the country to discuss any and every form of corruption that citizens of India come across. Anyone facing a corruption issue or knowledgeable about how to handle corruption can access the community at http://bit.ly/fight-corruption-together.
India Corruption Survey 2017, 2018 & 2019 Comparison: Bribery reduces by 10% in comparison to 2018
The percentage of citizens who paid a bribe this year has come down to 51% compared to 56% last year. This number stood at 45% in the year 2017. Upon reviewing citizen discussions in the online community “Together Against Corruption” on LocalCircles, it is evident that corruption took a dip in 2017 post demonetization as people did not have cash readily available to pay bribes at least for some part of the year. However, the dip from 2018 levels of 56% to 51% in 2019 is a positive trend without any external interventions.
61% citizens this year, compared to 58% last year said that there is no functioning hotline in their state to easily report bribery and corruption. This shows that the states are not making any progress in enabling citizens to easily report cases of corruption.
Just like the last 2 years, cash is still the preferred way to pay bribes. Although when compared with last year, cash bribes have reduced from 2018 to 2019, while those paid via agents and paid in kind increased.
Computerisation continues to take place in an increasing number of Government offices but the results of this year’s survey show that bribery continues despite workings being computerised at Government offices. 16% citizens this year compared with 13% last year said they paid bribes in Government offices which were completely computerised and also had functional CCTV cameras.
Instances of coercive bribery are not reducing and remain a sizable portion of total bribery transactions. Citizens who said bribe was the only way of getting work done increased from 36% in 2018 to 38% in 2019, and who paid bribes to get work done quickly increased from 22% last year to 26% this year.
The survey also shows that most state Governments have been unable to take concrete and effective steps to reduce corruption. The percentage of citizens who felt that effective steps have been taken by their state Government reduced from 9% last year to 6% this year while the ones who said no steps have been taken remained constant at 48%.
State-wise indicator of corruption levels
Top areas of corruption in value terms- State-wise
Approximately 190,000 responses were received across a series of questions at the national and state levels. Over 120,000 responses were received in the national survey while over 70,000 responses were received in the state survey. 64% of the participants were men while 36% were women. Of the total participants, 49% were from tier 1 cities, 33% were from tier 2 cities and 18% were from tier 3 cities and rural locations. Approximately 81,000 unique citizens from 248 districts of India participated in the overall exercise.