In what could be seen as a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to do away with the menace of black money, the international corruption watchdog Transparency International has ranked India as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The anti-corruption watchdog recently released its Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which ranks 180 countries based on perceptions of a proliferation of graft in public sector enterprises on a scale of 0 to 100. The perceptions used as a base for the index are from various institutions. While a score of ‘0’ indicates that a country is a ‘highly corrupt’ one, one with a score of ‘100’ shows that a nation is a ‘very clean’. Over the years, the CPI has become one of the most trusted barometers of corruption in public sector entities globally.
In 2017, the CPI found that almost two-thirds of the nations of the world scored rankings below 50, with New Zealand and Singapore bagging the top spots. Strife-torn nations Sudan and Somalia were the worst performers on the CPI. With a score of 40, India was the 81st most corrupt country, as per Transparency International, along with Ghana, Morocco, and Turkey. Despite scoring the same as in last year’s index, India’s ranking did fall by two slots in 2017. Experts said that the Asian country’s ranking indicates that India lags behind in its efforts to crack down on corruption as compared to other nations. In South Asia, countries like Bangladesh (rank 142), Sri Lanka (rank 91), Pakistan (rank 117) and Maldives (rank 112) do not present a rosy picture either. However, China surpassed India with a rank of 71 and a score of 41 for the first time in four years. The index described anti-corruption efforts in the Asia-Pacific region as slow and imperfect. Transparency International referred to India, Pakistan and Myanmar as the worst offenders among Asia-Pacific countries.
The rankings come at a time when the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance is reeling under some of the biggest corruption scandals. In February 2018, diamantaire Nirav Modi was accused of laundering funds to the tune of Rs 12,600 crore by securing Letter of Understanding without collateral in collusion with officials of Punjab National Bank.