Singapore: India finds itself bracketed
with countries like Philippines and Cambodia, rated as the
fourth most corrupt nation among 16 countries of the Asia
Pacific region surveyed by leading Hong Kong-based business
consultancy firm PERC.
The Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd (PERC)
rated India at 8.67 on a scale of zero to 10 with the high end
being the worst case of corruption scenario and ahead of the
Philippines (8.9 points), Indonesia (9.25 points) and Cambodia
Among the 16 countries reviewed in its latest report,
Thailand was rated at 11 with a scale of 7.55, followed by
China (7.93) and Vietnam (8.3).
Comparatively, Singapore was given a clean sheet with
a score of 0.37, followed by Hong Kong (1.10), Australia
(1.39), Japan (1.90) and USA (2.39), putting them in the top
In India, according to the report, civil and other
local-level political leaders were found more corrupt than the
national-level political leaders, with the former given a
score of 9.25 and the latter slightly better at 8.97.
Indian civil servants at the city level too were rated
at 8.18, worst than the civil servants at the national level
"The issue of corruption has grown and overshadowed
the second term in office of the Congress-led coalition headed
by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," said PERC in its Asian
Intelligence report on Asian business and politics.
The government has been wracked by a series of
scandals involving the sale of telecom licenses, preparations
for the Commonwealth Games, a land scam involving high level
military officers, and improper property loans made by
state-owned financial institutions, it pointed out.
Though investigations were underway to be followed by
court trials, Indians were still questioning whether or not
the prime minister has the political muscle to fight graft and
whether the actions now being taken were more for show than
proof that the government was really cracking down on business
practices that were common but corrupt, it said.
Prime Minister Singh has been put in such a defensive
position that most of his recent statements have been to
stress how he has not personally been involved with
corruption, even though it appears that almost everyone around
him was, observed PERC.
"This point is underscored by a recent WikiLeaks
report that the ruling Congress Party paid off
parliamentarians back in 2008 to pass the US-India civil
nuclear deal," it said.