Rs 20 bribe for school form: Corruption tales from India

Karnataka has earned the ignominy of being the “most corrupt” state where in one incident, a person had to give a bribe of Rs 20 to get a school admission form, a survey by a private think-tank said on Monday.

Among the households surveyed, 77% claimed they had to pay bribes for availing public services, signalling increase of corruption in the state. It was 57% for Karnataka in a similar study in 2005 when Bihar was dubbed the most corrupt with a 74% score.

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To add more worries, the ‘CMS-India Corruption Study 2017: Perception and Experience with Public Services’ said, more than 33% of Kannadiga households believe that the state government is “not all committed” towards reducing graft.

The findings are part of the report prepared by Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies (CMS) after detailed surveys conducted in urban and rural areas of 20 states during October-November 2016 and January this year.

Overall, however the report said, there was a “definite decline” in both perception and experience of citizens about corruption in the country in availing public services. While 43% felt that the level of corruption in public services has increased during the last one year, it was 73% in 2005.

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** The more often paid bribe amount ranges between Rs 100 and Rs 500.
** In Jharkhand, a bribe of Rs 10 was paid for a loan application and Rs 20 in Karnataka for a school admission form
** Indians estimated to have paid bribes to the tune of Rs 6,350 crore last year as against Rs 20,500 crore in 2005.
** On an average, a household in India pays around Rs 1,840 as bribe a year.
** Perception about increase in level of corruption in highest in Police (32%) followed by PDS (29%), Electricity (27%) and Judicial services (26%).
** Government officials and politicians continue to be viewed as key players for the existence of corruption in public services.

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According to the report, the total amount of bribe paid by households across the country is estimated to be Rs 6,350 crore as against Rs 20,500 crore in 2005. However, “almost all households, across 20 states, who were asked to pay bribe by public servants, had no option but to pay bribe to avail the service”.

On an average, a household in India pays around Rs 1,840 as bribe in a year.

Karnataka has company in its neighbours on the top with Andhra Pradesh (74%), Tamil Nadu (68%) and Maharashtra (57%) finding a space there.

If Karnataka is listed the worst on “experiencing corruption in public services”, Himachal Pradesh has earned the laurels with just 3% households saying they had to bribe for services followed by Kerala (4%) and Chhattisgarh (13%).

In terms of perception about increase in corruption, Odisha (68%) followed by Karnataka (65%), Jharkhand (59%), Bihar (59%) and Chhattisgarh (56%) emerged on top.

MOST CORRUPT STATES

State 2017 Score 2005 Score
Karnataka 77% 57%
Andhra Pradesh 74% 54%
Tamil Nadu 68% 59%
Maharashtra 57% 39%
Jammu and Kashmir 44% 69%

LEAST CORRUPT STATES

State 2017 score 2005 Score
Himachal Pradesh 3% 53%
Kerala 4% 35%
Chhattisgarh 13% 51%

While talking about the extent of bribery, the report said the least amount paid was Rs 10 to take loan application form in Jharkhand and Rs 20 to get school admission form in Karnataka. The highest amount (Rs 50,000) among services paid in a school for admission was in Maharashtra.

The survey also sought to capture citizens’ perception about level of corruption during demonetisation period and found that more than half felt that it decreased during this period while 12% opined that it had rather increased.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Apr 28, 2017)

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