India is ranked 84th among the 180 countries which Transparency International assessed this year for integrity.
India shares the spot with El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Thailand.
While Bhutan is rated as the least corrupt country in the South Asian region in the graft watchdog’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, China, which was ranked a joint 72nd with India in 2007, is shown to have improved its corruption perception. It is now ranked 79th.
The report, released worldwide today, observed that no region remained immune to the perils of corruption. It put New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland in the top five places as the least corrupt nations of the world, while at the bottom of the table come Somalia and Afghanistan.
“At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index. These are Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sudan tied with Iraq.
“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society,” said Labelle.
He appealed to the nations that corrupt money must not find safe haven anywhere: “It is time to put an end to excuses.”