India has fallen two ranks from 79th slot to 81st in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 released by the Transparency International, which named the country as one of the “worst offenders” in respect of graft and press freedom.
The Berlin-based non-governmental organisation ranks countries on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based on their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.
After ranking 180 countries and territories for the 2017 index, Transparency International found that more than two-thirds showed signs of high corruption, with a score of below 50.
The average score of 43 shows that India fared below average in the corruption perceptions index.
The index released on Wednesday reveals some disturbing information – despite attempts to combat corruption around the world, the majority of countries are moving too slowly in their efforts.
While stemming the tide against corruption takes time, in the last six years many countries have still made little to no progress. Even more alarming, further analysis of the index results indicates that countries with the lowest protections for press and NGOs also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.
“Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect. These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist death,” it said.
Every week a journalist is killed in a highly corrupt country. “Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International.
This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.
The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).
The index ranks by perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.