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RTI brought marked decline in corruption in India: Study

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Jaipur, feb 1: Published by the Transparency International, India's corruption index showed a marked decline from 88 to 70th position. The single-most reason for the drop in corruption in government was attributed to the Right to Information Act.

 

Right to Information (RTI) Act has served as a powerful weapon in fighting corruption which has shown a marked decline in the country, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index .

 

Published by the Transparency International, India's corruption index showed a marked decline from 88 to 70th position. The single-most reason for the drop in corruption in government was attributed to the Right to Information Act.

 

Mr George Cherian of the Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CART) informed this at a semiar on ''One year of RTI in Rajasthan:Problems and possibilities'' here today.

 

He said out of the 183 countries' corruption indices, India's index declined by 18 points compared to that in 2005 and the major reason attributed to this steep fall is the public scrutiny through Right to Information Act.

 

Chief Information Commissioner of Rajasthan M D Kaurani, speaking on the occasion, emphasised the need for a separate executive wing and fund for the commission to make the implementation of the law more effective. He said at present the Home department is entrusted with the responsibility of execution and it is one among many responsibilites with the Home department. Besides, there is no separate fund allocated for RTI.

 

He said the Commission would soon launch a helpline in the state and added that ''though the significance of the law has been acknowledged, there is need to make it more powerful and effective with more fund and staff''.

 

Mr Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative(CHRI) and Mr Nikil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangatan also spoke on the occasion.

 

deepikaglobal.com - National News Detail

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I sincere hope in coming days, the service by governement department will improve considerably that citizen do not have to resort to RTI.

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The study report of Transparency International and other organisations that corruption in India is reduced now is far from reality. On the contrary the corruption in India is increased. Then what about the study report ? They are following their old methods of identifying corruption and the modus operandii of coruption itself has changed. Earlier there wee not much problem in asking or accepting the bribe. Now due to various factors, the corrupt cannot ask bribe. They resort to a diferent system. They just donot ask any bribe. Instead, one find that his work delayed or not done and the corupt bureaucrate or other just pose various problems in getting the things done. If one make frequent visists, the Peon or someone like will approach the aggrived, sympathise with him and direct him to someone else who can help him. That person welcome him whole-heartedly and promissto arrange the things done for a consideration. He know how to accept the 'consideation' undetected and direct him to the corrupt person who has been not geting the things done sofar. In between things are arranged. When the aggrieved approach the corrupt public servant,things will be done with a comment that he is doing it out of sympathy and human considertion despite all his difficulties. He does not mention anything about the bribe. How will the Transparency International or other organisations engaged in the survey detect this bribe ? Right to Informatin Act has not made even a dent on the corruption due to corruption in the selection ofthe custodians itself. Unless we make the RTI Act effective by appointing honest and capable persons at the helm of affairs, Ke...zara...zara...

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Unless we make the RTI Act effective by appointing honest and capable persons at the helm of affairs, Ke...zara...zara...---- correctly mentioned by the Hon'ble member.

The problem is that those who are required to take proper action against the corrupt officials, are very much in favour of those officials' misdeeds. The Commissioners do not take any appropriate action against errant SPIOs , who are almost in all cases, with some exceptions, dedicated to serve the corrupts. This is my bitter experience of last about a year of RTI activities with around 45 representations to 5 Govt. departments. --- Abhijeet

sincerely

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In Kerala we do have an Information Commission with all his three ICs in a " disinformation spreading spree " even on the "Right to Know Day" viz., 28 September and "The Hindu " continuing with its new found mission of giving maximum coverage to it on next day itself least bothering to find out the hard realities on ground. One can understand dismal or non-performance by the SIC and neglect of RTI Act by the media to avert the wrath of bureaucrats vis-a-vis its survival. The present strategy is beyond the imagination of the Architect of the RTI Act.

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India ranked 74 on world corruption index

 

As reported in Times of India, 26 Jun 2008, 1310 hrs IST,PTI

 

 

NEW YORK: India has been ranked a lowly 74, two steps down since last year, among 180 countries of the world on the worldwide Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), prepared by independent international agency Transparency International.

 

However, corruption is much higher in Pakistan which occupies 140th place, a little below Iran, Libya and Nepal which are ranked 133, 134 and 135 respectively.

 

Meanwhile, China which was ranked a joint 72 with India in 2007, slided a step down to occupy a place above its neighbour this year.

Among other Asian countries, Russia is placed still lower on 145, while Sri Lanka occupies the 96th position and Maldives is ranked 90.

 

The least corrupt country in the region is the nascent democracy Bhutan, which has been placed at the 41st spot by the non-government organisation tracking prevalence of corruption worldwide.

Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden corner the top five spots retaining positions as the least corrupt nations of the world, while bottom of table is occupied by Myanmar and Somalia.

 

The United States also retains its position and is ranked 20th, just below Germany, Ireland, Japan and France. Besides, Britain occupies the 13th spot and is just ahead of Hong Kong.

 

India ranked 74 on world corruption index-India-The Times of India

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" Published by the Transparency International, India's corruption index showed a marked decline from 88 to 70th position.

Right to Information (RTI) Act has served as a powerful weapon in fighting corruption which has shown a marked decline in the country, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index ."

 

 

 

If one goes through corruption Perception Figures,given by Transparency International, India has ,infact,slipped couple of positions downward towards more corruption (compare posts 1 and 6 above).

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1 out of 3 poor people paid bribe for basic services: study

 

AS Reported by Anil Padmanabhan and Ruhi Tewari of Live Mint

 

The study, by Transparency International India, the Indian arm of the activist group that works against corruption, and non-profit research organization Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in 2007, will be released on Saturday evening by the country’s vice president Mohammed Hamid Ansari.

 

Conducted over the period of a year, the survey found that the perception of corruption in public services exceeds actual corruption. This is the first time that CMS, which has been conducting surveys on corruption since 2000, has studied the impact of corruption on poor people. “Our study estimates that about Rs9,000 million (Rs900 crore) have been paid as bribes by the poor. But claims of corruption are often exaggerated in India,” said Bhaskara Rao, chairman, CMS.

 

“Usually, there is talk of corruption only at higher places since that is more glamorous though it is the poor that suffer the most due to corrupt government activities,” said Arvind Kejriwal, a right to information activist.

 

However, Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for power, said he wasn’t sure the number of people affected by corruption was a third of those using public services. “I have not seen the study. Anyway, what can one say about such studies? We all know there is corruption at lower levels and we do not need studies to prove that. I am not denying that there must be some corruption at that level.

 

However, whether the figure is one third or something else, is anybody’s guess,” said Ramesh.

 

Most poor people are dependant on public services because they cannot afford to pay for private services.

 

The basic services covered by the study are: public distribution system, hospitals, school education, electricity and water supply. It also covered need-based services: the national rural employment guarantee scheme which promises employment to poor, land records and registration, forests, housing, banking and police.

 

Corruption, recent studies show, could actually have a bigger impact than earlier thought. Another Transparency International study, Global Corruption Report 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector, released on Wednesday, said corruption in the water sector is the root cause and catalyst for the global water crisis.

 

anil.p@livemint.com

 

 

1 out of 3 poor people paid bribe for basic services: study - Economy and Politics - livemint.com

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Corruption index: Will India emerge cleaner?

as reported by Shobha John,TNN , 21 Sep 2008,

 

NEW DELHI: India may have some cause for cheer when the annual worldwide league table of corruption is published 48 hours from now.

 

Transparency International's (TI) report last year had put India 72nd most corrupt of 180 countries. TI, the NGO leading the fight against corruption worldwide, says India has been doing better for itself ever since it published its corruption index in 2001. In 2005, it was 88 among 159 countries and in 2006, 70 among 163 countries.

 

On a scale of 1-10, says Anupama Jha, executive director, TI-India (TII), it was 2.9 in 2005, 3.3 in 2006 and 3.5 in 2007, (where 9.9 is for very clean (governments) showing slight improvement.

 

The signs of change are slowly seeping in. One of the tools to fight corruption, Development Integrity Pact, will be rolled out from Raipur, Chhattisgarh, next month and is a first of its kind. Citizens are counselled on ways to force government departments and politicians to deliver on their promises. TII says the weapon used could be questioning through dharnas or through the media, "so that the guilty party (who could be an MLA too) is shamed into keeping his promise, be it building a road or making a school."

 

TII refused to divulge details of the report before its release on Tuesday. But it says the police, judiciary and politicians continue to be very corrupt in India and other countries. Jha says, "There are laws to fight it, but they're ineffective. Political will is often lacking in cleaning up the stables."

 

Even so, TII suggests India can do a great deal to fight the systemic rot.

Here are other tools for battle:

 

Social audit: TII says a good example of knowing one's rights as a citizen is Indian Railways e-ticketing, which have put touts out of business. TII has already held workshops to teach ways to conduct a social audit and plans to partner with local NGOs in different states.

 

Right to Information Act: This has already thrown up several success stories.

 

Integrity Pact (IP): This helps government and civil society fight corruption in public contracts and procurement. A government department is required to sign a pact with every bidder for a contract. Twenty-four PSUs have already signed up for it. These include ONGC, SIAL, Coal India Ltd and GAIL. Jha says Integrity Pacts are "good for the company too as it helps its bottomline, its image and decreases arbitration cases. There are external monitors with impeccable records who oversee it. Besides, this has the blessing of the Central Vigilance Commission."

 

Citizen's charter: This includes basic information such as how to file an FIR or complain about bribes demanded in a government department or a ration shop.

 

Even though the Citizen's Charter may sound platitudinous, it could be invaluable to the most vulnerable in our society because they are generally the victims of corruption. Last year's TII-CMS (Centre for Media Studies) India Corruption Study looked at 11 government services and found that one-third of Indians officially below the poverty line (BPL) were forced to cough up a whopping Rs 9,000 million as bribes to avail of basic public services. These included state-subsidised rations through the Public Distribution System, hospital care, senior secondary school education, electricity and water supply, and services like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, land records and registration, forest, housing, banking and police.

 

Indian police were found to be the worst offenders. Nearly half the 5.6m BPL households were forced to bribe the police Rs 2,150m. Many of these bribes were for basic rights as registering a complaint.

 

Corruption index: Will India emerge cleaner?-India-The Times of India

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As reported by TNN in Times of India, Hyderabad Edition, dayed 24 September 2008:

Article Window

India slips on corruption index

 

From 72nd Place In 2007, It is 85th In This Year’s Transparency Index

 

New Delhi: The cash-for-vote scandal that marred the July 22 trust vote might well have cost India a few points on the transparency index as the country has slid down to the 85th position in terms of the global ranking for corruption from 72nd last year.

 

The fall by 13 places may not surprise those who have had even a brush with India's governing mechanisms, but it is not the report card that an economy growing at 8%, and which has bulldozed its way into the world's nuclear club, would expect. Even a small improvement would have been welcome but the usual suspects -- police and politics, along with lower judiciary -- have pulled down India's score.

 

India appeared to have been hurt by sluggish reforms in major sectors like power, banking and insurance, slow progress on regulatory processes, lack of transparency in government contracts and non-passage of bills like the Lok Pal legislation.

 

India's integrity score on a scale of 10 has gone down marginally from 3.5 in 2007 to 3.4 this year, but it has meant a sharp slip in rankings as some other nations have improved. At the 85th slot India is pretty much in the middle of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of 180 countries. Given India's size and muddled politics, a comparison with high-scoring Nordic countries would be out of place, but even holding the 72nd slot would have been some consolation.

 

Transparency International's annual study has ranked Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore and Finland as the five least corrupt nations with Britain at 16th place and Japan sharing the 18th slot with the US. Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia (180th) were the five most corrupt countries.

 

India, however, has done better than other countries in South Asia except Bhutan which has an impressive CPI of 5.2, ranked 45. There is limited satisfaction be drawn from being better than Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India and China were at par last year but the communist country has maintained its position of 72 with a slightly higher score of 3.6.

 

Transparency International India's chairperson R H Tahiliani said police, politics and lower judiciary were the worst dens of corruption in the country. "We have been pressing for the passage of the Lok Pal Bill, Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill and other measures like the ratification of UNCAC (United Nations Convention against Corruption). But our political establishment has shown no will to address these measures which would influence India's standing in the world community and show that it is serious about combating corruption," said Tahiliani, a former navy chief.

 

The ranking, rated as fairly credible, is done through a mathematical model based on surveys sourced through 13 institutions like Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Freedom House, Global Insight, Merchant International Group and Bertelsmann Transformation Index.

 

Nearly half the countries scored 3 or less points, indicating that corruption is perceived to be rampant. The declining performance of some wealthy exporting countries shows their failure to honour their commitment to end questionable methods of their companies in acquiring and managing domestic and overseas business.

 

The study also found that a strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to exist, jeopardising the global fight against impoverishment and threatening to derail the UN Millennium Development Goals.

 

India's CPI had come down in 2006 and 2007, possibly because Integrity Pact (IP) procedures were adopted by some PSUs in public contracting and procurements. IP procedures aim at greater transparency and integrity between buyers and sellers, eliminating external interventions and improving a sense of ethics.

 

"While 28 PSUs have agreed to implement IP procedures, the government-nominated directors on boards of some PSUs have shown reluctance. Power sector is one area where not a single PSU has introduced IP despite advisories by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)," Tahiliani said.

 

Defence ministry has adopted IP for all procurements of Rs 100 crore or more, while the cap for the ministry's public sector enterprises is even lower at Rs 20 crore or more.

 

The failure to enact the Lok Pal Bill -- introduced in Parliament eight times and then allowed to lapse -- is also a major failure of successive governments.

 

CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX - 2008

 

AMONG 180 COUNTRIES LEAST CORRUPT

1. Denmark 2. New Zealand 3. Sweden 4. Singapore 5. Finland

 

MOST CORRUPT

1. Afghanistan (176) 2. Haiti (177) 3. Iraq (178) 4. Myanmar (178) 5. Somalia (180)

SOUTH ASIA

1. Bhutan (45) 2. India (85) 3. Sri Lanka (92) 4. Maldives (115) 5. Nepal (121) 6. Pakistan (134) 7. Bangladesh (147)

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Friends

 

Dontlive in utopia. If corruption needs to be ended or even lessend The Central Govet must take a decision that the SICommissioner will not be appointed by state government. Central Government should also make it clear that the SICs will not remain posted in one state for more than a year.

 

Giving the selection powers f SICs to state government is one of the biggest mistakes as the SICs are mostly retired govt servant. And wat can u expect from the person who havs been a part of the corrupt and in sensitive system.

 

Still

 

Mera Bharat Mahaan

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Yep Deepak you are right.

 

Performance of SIC's have not been upto the mark, in fact in all the states. If it was one state one may attribute the failure to a particular individual SIC, but if it is a problem with all the states then definetly there is a problem with the system.

 

Also it is interesting to note here that different states are being ruled by different political parties, so the failure cannot be attributed to any one political party, they all are just the same.

 

Hence one can conclude that it was not a great idea to recruit SIC's from the CM's source.

 

Now we have two options:

 

1) To hope for a change in the system, whereby SIC's are recruited through a different and more appropriate source. An ideal thing to happen.

 

2) Alternately untill that happens Do a Chakde India:

 

In this movie the lead coach was given a team, inherent with the same set of problems as we are facing with the SIC's. The lead coach instead of complaining and changing the team made available to him by the government, motivated and got the work done from the same team, and went on to secure a gold medal for the nation. (A movie based on a factual story)

 

I wonder if RTI activists + Media can play the same role, by persisting with the same set of people made available to us, and make them understand that their positive role can make a huge difference to our nation, and that they have a larger and a very responsible role to play in the interest of the nation.

 

Maybe RTI activists can organize seminars/ events and invite SIC as a Chief Guest:

Make him feel comfortable and important which he no doubt is,

Make an emotional appeal to the SIC,

Play RTI song for SIC which Kariraji has posted on the forum,

and make SIC see through that he has a very very important role to play, and

 

His postive role can make a difference to the billions of my brothers and sisters who are Indians.

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2) Alternately untill that happens Do a Chakde India:

 

In this movie the lead coach was given a team, inherent with the same set of problems as we are facing with the SIC's. The lead coach instead of complaining and changing the team made available to him by the government, motivated and got the work done from the same team, and went on to secure a gold medal for the nation. (A movie based on a factual story)

 

 

This is the best and as per my opinion, a doable solution.

Work with the system given to you. Do not waste time and energy trying to change the system.

Diligently and methodically read each and every act, law, rule which concerns RTI, even remotely.

Use the same set of acts/laws/rules which the government has made and get the job done.

 

If all fails, invoke the name of God !

As mentioned in the letter drafted by member jps50 and posted in his blog - the one addressed to IC's - tell the PIO/AA/SIC that today, they might throw around your RTI application but one day they will be standing in front of God to reply to His RTI application - and for God, there are no Sections/Rules/Interpretation and not even a chance of First Appeal or Second Appeal.

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As reported in deccanchronicle.com on 26 October 2008:

National News

 

CVC raises questions on ‘integrity scores’

 

New Delhi, Oct. 26: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has served a googly to Transparency International India (TII) by asking them to explain how they arrive at the "Integrity Scores" which decide the corruption index of a nation. The CVC believes that the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has a tremendous impact on a nation’s economy because international funds flow on the basis of these indices.

 

India’s position dropped from 72 to 85 in the world’s most corrupt nations according to the Transparency International report released in September 2008. Last year, India and China were at par in the corruption index, but this year, China’s stays at 72.

 

With millions of dollars in funds riding these assessments, the CVC has written a letter to TII questioning their assessment. "As a nation, if they (TII) perceive us as having become more corrupt, then we need to know how they have arrived at this assessment. They need to maintain transparency on this crucial issue," CVC officials maintain.

 

"A nation whose corruption index is poor, automatically develops a poor market image. This has a bearing on the nation’s market value, especially since we understand that TI is being funded by the World Bank and a host of key international donors," a CVC member pointed out. "India’s integrity score had fallen, indicating that corruption had increased," Mr R.H. Tahiliani, country’s chairman of Transparency International, had said when the report was released.

 

In absence of Mr Tahiliani, Col. K.R. Dharmadhikary (Retd) explained, "The biggest blot for India has been the Parliament cash-for-vote scam. That has dented the image of the country." "But since the parameters for judging ‘corruption’ in a country are decided by our international wing, we have asked them to explain what these are," Col. Dharmadhikary said.

 

The CVC has also received queries from the UN on how corruption is being tackled in India. The CVC pointed out that during the last two years, all PSUs and ministries have been contacted and asked to enter integrity pacts to ensure transparency. While the integrity pacts were adopted by all the ministries and PSUs, only ONGC has worked to ensure transparency in the bidding process which is not open to scrutiny by independent monitors, a CVC member said.

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