The index released annually by Transparency International ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero signifies the highest level of corruption and 100 is very clean.
In India, anti-corruption drives tend to focus on big ticket graft and malfeasance. But it is petty corruption that hurts common people more. Attention should be paid to ensure both are weeded out. As former World Bank president Robert Zoellick once said, “Corruption is a cancer that steals from the poor, eats away at governance and moral fibre, and destroys trust.”
Denmark and New Zealand topped the list with scores of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland (85 each). Like in previous years, more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50, with a global average score of just 43.
The data shows that despite some progress, most countries still fail to tackle corruption effectively, states Transparency International, a global civil society. Syria with a score of 14, Somalia and South Sudan with scores of 12 each occupy the bottom slots on the CPI-2020.
The average score in the Asia-Pacific region, which encapsulates 31 countries, is 45. India’s score of 40 is below both the global average and the Asia-Pacific average. India’s score is also lower than that of China, which scored 42 with a rank of 78.
However, Pakistan fared poorly with a score of 31 and a rank of 124. In the Asia Pacific region, New Zealand was the top performer. Other top-scoring nations were Singapore (85), Australia (77) and Hong Kong (77).
In Asia, key economies such as India, Indonesia and Bangladesh with scores of 40, 37 and 36 respectively, experienced slow progress in anticorruption efforts, with several government commitments to reform not yet materialising, states the CPI-2020 report.
According to Transparency International, CPI-2020 shows that corruption is more pervasive in countries least equipped to handle Covid-19 and other crises. “Covid-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis. And one that we are currently failing to manage,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International said. “The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption,” she added.