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One in Two Indians Paid Direct or Indirect Bribes in Last Year, Corruption Survey Finds

Image for representation. (Reuters)

Image for representation. (Reuters)

The survey also found that among all Indian states, Orissa had the least incidence of bribery, making it one of the least corrupt states in India.

Findings of a national corruption survey that was released on Tuesday revealed at least 51 per cent of Indians had paid bribes in the last year.

The India Corruption Survey 2019, conducted by Transparent International India (TII), an independent anti-corruption advocate, in collaboration with LocalCircles, revealed in the past year, 1 in every two Indian respondents had paid bribe.

In 2018, the survey had revealed that 56% citizens of the country had paid bribes in some form, either direct or indirect. The 2019 survey was conducted among 1.9 lakh respondents spread across 20 Indian states. It found that through bribery had gone down by 10 percent in the last year, the practice was still widely prevalent in the country with 51 percent admitting to indulging in the practice.

Who are Indians bribing and why?

Almost 35 percent of the respondents said they had paid bribe in cash while 30 percent said they had paid through other indirect agents.

At 26 percent, the maximum number of bribes were paid by Indians for to property registrations and land issues. The second larges bribe-taker turned out to be the police force with 19 percent respondents admitting to having bribed the police in some form in the past year.

These were followed by the municipal corporations and transport offices at 13 percent each.

Despite efforts, 38 percent respondents of the survey felt that bribery as continued unabated when it came to tax officials.

A maximum number of respondents (38 percent) said they gave bribes to since it was the ONLY way of getting things done while 26 percent said it was the fastest and simplest route.

Corrupt states

The survey also found that among all Indian states, Orissa had the least incidence of bribery, making it one of the least corrupt states in India. It is followed be Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala and Goa.

The highest reports of bribery came from Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab.

As many as 61 percent respondents of the survey reported that there were no special anti-corruption hotlines in the state. The report inferred from this that states were still not doing enough to curb bribery, despite stringent laws against it.

Incidentally, cash bribes have experiences a downturn in favour of bribes through indirect agents in from 2017 to 2018.

“While the introduction of systems in public services has largely reduced corruption in centralised services like securing a passport or buying a railway ticket, most citizen services at the state and local levels are still ridden with bribery and kickbacks.”

Only 6 percent of the 1.9 lakh respondents felt that their state government had done enough to curb corruption.

The report concluded that despite efforts, watchdog agencies were "failing to fulfill their respective roles" and called for increased "political willingness on the part of the government".