India's Corruption
Supporters of veteran social activist Anna Hazare shout slogans at the Ramlila grounds where Hazare was fasting in New Delhi August 25, 2011.Reuters

India has a long way to go in its path to become a 'clean' country free of corruption, if a recent revelation on a corruption perception index is any reliable indication.

Although India has managed to save itself from becoming one of the top most corrupt countries in the world, it has managed to grab only a minor score of 36 out of 100 where a zero would indicate that the country is highly corrupt and 100 would mean it is very 'clean'.

While there are reasons to celebrate that India isn't as corrupt as many other countries who have scored lesser points, if a school going child is asked what it means to score 36 out of 100 in exams, he would consider it an utter failure. The score only pushes India to the rank of 94 among 177 countries studied, making it as corrupt as the Philippines and Suriname, both of which are also ranked 94th. The score also indicates that India is almost as corrupt as Ecuador, Moldova, Panama and Thailand, which have all scored 35.

The corruption perceptions index released recently by Transparency International, a global movement that claims to share the vision of "a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption", has revealed that among all the countries studied, Denmark and Finland are the cleanest countries with a score of 91 each. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were perceived to be the most corrupt countries with only eight points each.

Although India appears to have been ranked better than Russia, which is in the 127th position, it was said that India is more corrupt than three of its BRIC partners where China is ranked 80th and Africa and Brazil positioned at 72.

The good news is that India is not perceived to be as corrupt as all of its immediate neighbours, except for Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Pakistan has a score of only 28 while Bangladesh has 27 and Nepal 31. Sri Lanka has scored only one point higher than India (37) while Bhutan, claimed as the land of 'happiness', has a far higher rank than its other neighbours with a score of 63.

However, none of the countries have managed to hit the perfect score of 100, and more than two thirds of the 177 countries have scored below 50 - the midway point between being most corrupt and cleanest. The results, according to Transparency International, are an indication that there is a wide-scale perception of corruption across the globe and much needs to be done to clean the world of this epidemic.

"It is time to stop those who get away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt," said Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International.