News Excerpt
India has been ranked at the 80thposition among 180 countries and territories in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) prepared by Transparency International.

•    India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year.  
•    The 2019 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

    This year’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
    In the Asia Pacific region, the average score is 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, which “illustrates general stagnation” across the region. China has improved its position from 87 to 80 with a score of 41 out of 100, a two-point jump.
    Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand (87), Singapore (85), Australia (77), Hong Kong (76) and Japan (73), the Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results.
    If we look at India and the countries around it on the index, and at the top 10 (least corrupt) countries, we realise that the former group contains nations with huge socio-economic inequalities, and the latter contains nations with a high degree of social and economic justice. In that sense, Singapore along with the European and European-settler countries ranked as the 10 least corrupt nations. In short, many believe that corruption is directly proportionate to the socio-economic gap in a nation.
    Moreover, in India, unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decision making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups result in stagnation or decline in control of corruption.

Way Forward
    Manage Conflicts of Interest - Governments should reduce the risk of undue influence in policy-making by tightening controls over financial and other interests of government officials. Governments should also address “revolving doors”, establish cooling-off periods for former officials and ensure rules are properly enforced and sanctioned.
    Control Political Financing- In order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, governments should improve and properly enforce campaign finance regulations. Political parties should also disclose their sources of income, assets and loans, and governments should empower oversight agencies with stronger mandates and appropriate resources.
    Reinforce Checks and Balances- Governments must promote the separation of powers, strengthen judicial independence and preserve checks and balances.
    Strengthen Electoral Integrity- For democracy to be effective against corruption, governments must ensure that elections are free and fair. Preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns are essential to rebuilding trust in government and ensuring that citizens can use their vote to punish corrupt politicians.   
    Tackle Preferential Treatment- Governments should create mechanisms to ensure that service delivery and public resource allocation are not driven by personal connections or are biased towards special interest groups at the expense of the overall public good.
    Empower Citizens- Governments should engage civil society and protect citizens, activists, whistle-blowers and journalists in monitoring and exposing corruption.

Central Vigilance Commission, Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC), Lokpal