December 23, 2011
A survey released yesterday by Berlin-based Transparency International showed bribery has become so endemic that the South Asian region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the corruption hotspot of the world.
The watchdog surveyed 7,800 people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, finding 40 percent had paid backhanders over the last 12 months to public servants, with police being the largest recipients.
Nepali people were asked about their perception of institutions that are extremely corrupt, including parliament and police, and according to the survey, 53.4 percent of Nepali citizen felt that the level of corruption has increased in the country over the past three years.
A total 1,044 people (in 44 districts from 14 zones) were interviewed.
"With bribery such a big part of life for south Asians, you can see why so many people are angry at their governments for not tackling corruption," said Rukshana Nanayakkara, senior programme coordinator for the watchdog's south Asia region.
"People are sick of paying bribes to get on with their daily lives, and they are sick of the sleaze and undue influence of public servants."
The survey, entitled "Daily Lives and Corruption: Public Opinion in South Asia" found 62 percent of south Asians believed corruption had got worse over the past three years, with Indians and Pakistanis the most pessimistic.
More than 80 percent, however, said they were willing to take action to end corruption.
"Governments beware. People think corruption is on the rise and are willing to take action against it," said Nanayakkara.
According to Republica, in writing about the survey:
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 for other services, while in Nepal and the Maldives, customs services reportedly receive the most bribes," states the report.