South Asia: Corruption plagues daily life

Political parties and police seen as most corrupt

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Kathmandu / Berlin – South Asians regularly have to pay bribes when dealing with their public institutions, be it to speed up paperwork, avoid problems with authorities such as the police, or simply access basic services.

A new survey of six South Asian countries published today by Transparency International, the anti-corruption organisation, found that more than one in three people who deal with public services said they pay bribes. In previous surveys of this nature, only Sub-Saharan Africa had a higher rate of bribe-paying.

The report, Daily Lives and Corruption, Public Opinion in South Asia, surveyed 7500 people between 2010 and 2011 in Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The results help explain why the region is perceived to have some of the world’s highest levels of corruption, with none of the surveyed countries in the top half of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, in which they all score less than 3.5 out of 10.

Political parties and the police are the most corrupt institutions in all six countries according to the survey, followed closely by the parliament and public officials. Officials entrusted to oversee deals related to buying, selling, inheriting and renting land were the next likely to demand a bribe.

“With bribery such a big a part of life for South Asians, you can see why so many people are angry at their governments for not tackling corruption. People are sick of paying bribes just to get on with their daily lives, and they are sick of the sleaze and undue influence of public servants,” said Rukshana Nanayakkara, Senior Programme Coordinator for South Asia at Transparency International.

People prepared to fight corruption

While people across the region say the problem is getting worse, they are also likely to do something about it. 62 per cent of those interviewed believe corruption has become worse in the past three years. People from India and Pakistan are most pessimistic about worsening corruption.

83 per cent of people declared themselves ready to get involved in fighting corruption. In India tens of thousands demonstrated for strong anti-corruption laws in August (see annex for more examples of people fighting corruption). Less than a quarter of Indians surveyed thought their government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective.

“Governments beware. People think corruption is on the rise and are willing to take action against it. In 2011 popular protests have sent a strong message to governments. They must respect the voice of their people and encourage citizen engagement,” said Nanayakkara.

According to the survey, the country most plagued by bribery is Bangladesh where 66 per cent report paying bribes to public institutions, mostly just to gain access to services that people should already be entitled to.

Another common reason people cited for paying bribes was to avoid problems with authorities. Two-thirds of Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who dealt with the police ended up paying a bribe.

In Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, bribes were mostly paid to speed things up, highlighting how corruption can also be a barrier to business expansion. In Sri Lanka significantly more people paid bribes to tax authorities than other services, while in Nepal and the Maldives, customs services reportedly receive the most bribes.
 


For any press enquiries please contact

Kathmandu
Thama Nath Ghimire
T: + 977 1 4436462 (office)
M: + 977 9851122074

Berlin
Sophie Brown
T: +49 30 3438 2019
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

See a short film created by Ghanaian widows evicted from their land who decided to organise and challenge official indifference.

Corruption in Asia Pacific: what 20,000+ people told us

We spoke to nearly 22,000 people about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region. See what they revealed.

FIFA must do more to win back trust of football fans

It’s been one year since Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA with promises to clean up football. How do football fans think he's doing?

17 commitments for a clean Bulgaria – will politicians sign on?

Bulgaria’s voters will head to the polls in a snap election on 26 March. Our chapter is urging politicians to commit to needed reforms.

Applications now open for the Transparency Summer School on Integrity 2017

Apply now for the Transparency School on Integrity (TISI), taking place during 10-16 July, 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Open data: promise, but not enough progress from G20 countries

G20 countries made commitments to publish data that could help curb corruption. How well are they keeping their promises?

República Dominicana marcha para acabar con la impunidad

Desde que salió a la luz el escándalo de corrupción en torno al constructor Odebrecht, miles de dominicanos salieron a la calle para denunciar la impunidad y luchar contra la corrupción.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world