Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously said “na khaoonga, na khaane doonga” on corruption in India. But has a similar anti-corruption sentiment trickled down to the local level?
A survey by the Centre of Media Studies, a think-tank focusing on developmental research and media advocacy, answers these questions. The survey ‘CMS-India Corruption Study 2017’ covers rural and urban households from 20 states and focuses on ‘perception’ of corruption in delivery of services like health, electricity, PDS, judicial and banking services.
150 households in 2 districts in every state in October-November 2016 were surveyed. The study highlights that nearly 43% of households feel that the level of corruption in public services has increased in the past one year.
In comparison, in 2005, a much higher number – 73% – had said that corruption increased in public services.
The CMS study indicates a higher number of people have first-hand experiences of corruption in Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu follow close behind. People in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala reported the least experiences of corruption in public services.
34% of households admitted to having experienced corruption when dealing with the police. Land/housing departments (24%), judicial services (18%) and the tax departments (15%) were perceived to be relatively less corrupt.
Interestingly, the report argues that services with high levels of corruption experienced are those which are ‘need-based and monopolistic.’
Alternatives for services like the police and judiciary are hard to come by, so the report recommends that initiatives like computerised land records, e-FIRs, online filing of taxes and e-courts should be encouraged.
In fact, the report recommends that these public departments should step up their social media presence to make their grievance redressal faster and easier.
To gauge perceptions of demonetisation’s impact on corruption in public services, CMS conducted an additional telephonic survey in January 2017.
One of the stated aims of demonetisation in November 2016 was that it would bring down corruption in every day life. And a majority of respondents – 56% – feel that it has.
(Sources cited: CMS-India Corruption Study 2017, with inputs from PTI)