Editorial: Good signs

On a day when the government compulsorily retired another 21 ‘corrupt’ tax officers in the fifth tranche of its crackdown on errant officials accused of corruption and other malpractices, a survey said on Tuesday that incidents of bribery in the country have reduced by 10 per cent since last year. The survey, it is claimed, was carried out in 20 States. People in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa and Odisha reported low instances of corruption, while Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Jharkhand and Punjab had higher occurrences of corruption, it stated.

The ‘India Corruption Survey 2019’, which received 1,90,000 responses from people in 248 districts, also stated that 51 per cent Indians paid bribe in the last 12 months. Transparency International India (TII) and LocalCircles conducted the survey. India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index 2018, released by TII, has improved three places compared to last year and now, the country’s standing is 78 among 180 nations, a statement issued by the organisation said. Cash is still the primary mode to pay bribes, as per the survey.

Thirty-five per cent of the respondents said they gave cash as bribe in the last 12 months to get their work done, it stated and added that 16 per cent said they always managed to get their work done without paying bribes. The survey shows that the top three corruption prone departments are property registration and land issues, police and municipal corporation. Though CCTV cameras are a slight deterrent, bribery still continues in government offices despite major computerisation and agents continue to thrive, the survey found. The highest number of incidents of bribery were in authorities involved in property registration and land issues. The finding was backed by votes of 26 per cent of the respondents, it stated. Only 12 per cent citizens said bribery in property registration and land issues has reduced in the last 12 months. The government in the last six months has retired over 25 senior tax officials facing charges of corruption. Though it is a welcome sign that corruption has come down, it should be totally removed from the country.

NT Bureau