Corruption is still a significant obstacle for growth

The annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International (TI) ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of corruption and scores them on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 denotes being very clean. 2017 marked its 25th anniversary, and this year’s index analyzed perceived corruption levels with respect to the civil liberties of citizens.

TI’s 2017 report places emphasis on the role of civil liberties such as freedom of association and expression. It further outlines that the ability of citizens to form groups and influence public policy and a free and an independent media are essential elements to combat corruption.

According to the report, a majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out.

India’s score in TI’s CPI 2017

India ranks 81st in the global CPI 2017 out of 180 countries, while in 2016it ranked 79th among 176 countries. A quick comparison of the CPI scores for BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in recent years yields interesting anti-corruption trajectories:

Recent anti-corruption trends and actions in India

  1. Enactment of legislations such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, Income Declaration Scheme and recommendations of the Uday Kotak Committee on corporate governance
  2. Demonetization of high-value currency notes
  3. Crackdown on shell companies
  4. Increase in importance of elements such as investigative journalism and NGOs to uncover instances of bribery and corruption
  5. Digitization initiatives to increase transparency

Further action needed

  1. Establishment of laws and regulations around anti-bribery and anti-corruption
  2. Adequate enforcement of laws and punishing of wrongdoers
  3. Encouragement to avenues for the press and activists to raise issues
  4. Enhancement of overall awareness of ethics and integrity. This is important at a corporate level and the society in general (schools and colleges).

Global snapshot

  • Asia Pacific: The region covers a wide spectrum which includes top scorers such as New Zealand, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong; and low scorers such as North Korea and Afghanistan. It is also struggling to make significant progress in anti-corruption initiative or action.
  • Sub Saharan African:  The region’s outlook in terms of anti-corruption efforts is reflected in the African Union (AU) 2017 theme “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation”. While it comprises low scoring countries (largely due to conflict and war), there is a fair amount of progress made by others, driven by rising commitment toward anti-corruption initiatives.
  • Middle East and Northern Africa: There has been no significant change in the perception of countries in this region. However, enhanced focus is needed to develop transparent and accountable institutions, and prosecution in case of any wrongdoing.
  • Americas: The region’s perception largely remains unaltered; sustained efforts are needed, specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean to make progress. Some countries here have recently put in place anti-corruption legislations (Chile), while others have been hit by some high profile investigations (Brazil and Peru).
  • Europe and Central Asia: The region includes significant number of top scorers, which are primarily European nations such as Denmark, UK and Germany. However, several countries  have proposed measures that could potentially act as hindrance to civil liberties.

Follow @EY_India and track #EYForensic for regular updates

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