The recent spate of high-profile corruption scandals has severely dented the UPA government's image. UPA is perceived as running a very corrupt or somewhat corrupt government by more than half the respondents. This perception is higher in urban areas and among the more educated.
[caption id="attachment_801635"] For every person who feels that the government has been sincere in responding to issues raised by the anti-corruption movements, there are two who think otherwise. Most are also of the opinion that the government is shielding those with black money in foreign banks. Compared to the overall sentiment, the College educated is even more critical of the government on the issue of corruption. [/caption]
When asked which government was most corrupt- central, state or local - most people said the Central government was most corrupt. The perception of the Central government being most corrupt is strongest in Bihar, followed by Rajasthan and Delhi. The perception of the State government being most corrupt is strongest in Karnataka, followed by Andhra Pradesh. The state governments of Gujarat and Bihar fare best when compared to other levels of government.
The image of elected representatives and government employees as the most corrupt people still endures, with 75 per cent of the respondents identifying them as the most corrupt. The perception is higher among the well educated.
People have a negative perception of the police. When asked which place/office they found most corrupt - Most respondents (25 per cent) said the police station/ thana/chowki. The perception is strongest among the Urban Rich. A large proportion of the Rural rich and rural poor find the Tehsil/BDO office, the most corrupt. For the Rural poor, since the Panchayat is the only place they access most, they also blame it the most.
Despite relentless media coverage of corruption scandals, the awareness of people about high-profile personalities accused of corruption is very low. Not many have heard of A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, M Kanimozhi or Dayanidhi Maran. Only 27 per cent have heard of A Raja and an even less 22 per cent actually knew that he was the former telecom minister charged in the 2G scam.
Both Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare, the two main leaders of the recent anti-corruption movements, it seems are quite well heard of. More people have heard of Ramdev than Hazare, and more so in rural areas. But the gap between Ramdev and Hazare reduces in urban areas.
While most people are critical of the UPA government's crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters at Ramleela Maidan, they are also of the opinion that Baba Ramdev would be better off teaching yoga, than meddling in politics. While BJP voters are more critical of the government's crackdown on Ramdev, they are also stronger in their opinion that Ramdev should not meddle with politics.
While both Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare have led separate anti-corruption movements, it is Hazare who has a better image than Ramdev among the people. When asked about who they felt was more trustworthy - Ramdev or Hazare - most people chose Hazare. Hazare is considered more trustworthy as we move up the education ladder.
One-third of the respondents have heard about Lokpal and only one-fourth know what is actually is. The awareness about Lokpal among college educated is much higher than the overall awareness.
A very large proportion of people have no opinion. There is more support for Team Anna's Lokpal draft than for the Government's draft among those who have heard of the drafts and have an opinion. Among them, for every person who supports the government's draft, there are three who support the draft put forward by Anna and his team. The support for Team Anna's draft is higher as we move up the education ladder.
More respondents believe that Lokpal will substantially reduce corruption than those who think Lokpal will hardly make any difference.
Since 1971, when CSDS first asked this question, there has been a substantial rise in the number of those who feel that demonstrations, strikes and gheraos are a proper way of drawing attention to people's grievances and demands. Compared to forty years ago, today there is a much greater willingness to accept agitational tactics as a legitimate tool for mobilization in a democracy.