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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Corruption Index - Denmark best ~ North Korea & Somalia worst - India 85th !!!!

One must be proud of one’s Nation … when asked – what’s your Country famous for ? – what would you say …. By some accounts,   U.S. has most Nobel laureates and lawnmower deaths ! – India is known for its diverse culture, long cherished history and the democracy for ages. 

The one ailment that plagues most Nations is ‘Corruption’ – remember that a few decades ago, in the city of Madras, poor people lived in pipes which were meant to bring water to the city.  Corruption often is the abuse of entrusted power for private gains.   Black money is not the colour of the currency.  It is the income generated by illegal means and on which no tax is paid – corruption is its major source.   We come different forms of corruption – from wholesale to retail.  Wholesale are the big scams of Spectrum, Coalgate, Bofors  and the like that we hear about – while there are the ones individuals could come to face like bribing corrupt officials for licence, traffic violations etc.,  For some it is the way of life – tipping off from birth certificate to major requirements. 

Wholesale corruption  may not affect the common man – but indirectly it will.  Also, the government loses revenue, which means less money to spend on more worthwhile projects like subsidising the poor. Corruption is nothing new nor was the previous British regime totally clean.  Warren Hastings (1732 – 1818) was the first Governor-General of Bengal from 1772 and the first Governor-General of India 1773 to 1785. He was accused of corruption and impeached in 1787, but after a long trial he was acquitted in 1795. The Impeachment of Warren Hastings was a failed attempt to impeach the former Governor-General of India in the Parliament of Great Britain between 1788 and 1795. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time in Calcutta particularly relating to mismanagement and personal corruption.  As is with many other cases of the present,  the case dragged on for seven years.

In April 2011, a few days into Anna Hazare's first “fast unto death,” searching for some way of distracting attention from the massive corruption scams which had battered its credibility, the Government invited Team Anna, the brand name chosen by this “civil society” group, to be part of a joint drafting committee for a new anti-corruption law.  Do we really care to know what happened after ? India took longer time to ratify the the UN Convention Against Corruption.   Daily Mail details about -  Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index  that assesses perceptions of corruption across every country.   This includes public officials' accountability to the public, their likelihood to accept bribes or exploit their position for personal gain, and to what extent rogue officials are prosecuted by their country's justice system.

North Korea and Somalia have the world's most corrupt public officials – they  are considered the worst for bribery and public accountability. The most honest officials were found in Denmark and New Zealand.  The report states that North Korea's public officials are the most corrupt in the world with bribery, counterfeit medicine and backdoor payments just some of the consequences of its crooked institutions, according to a new study. Experts have assessed the public sectors of countries across the globe and placed the authoritarian state dead last, tied with Somalia, when compared to the rest of the world. The two countries both received their ranking of 174th - with eight points out of a possible 100 - after factors of corruption within all countries were indexed.

In first place with the world's most honest officials was Denmark, on a score of 92, followed by New Zealand, which scored 91. Britain was ranked 14th in the study, behind Europe's Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. Across the Atlantic, the U.S. was ranked 17th on 74 points, trailing Canada by seven places but showing a vastly better score than every other country on its continent. Many of the Central and South American states fared poorly, with Venezuela, Honduras and Haiti among the worst. Jose Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International, said leading institutions in the U.S. and Europe needed to work with fast growing economies to hold the corrupt to account. He said: 'Corrupt officials smuggle ill-gotten assets into safe havens through offshore companies with absolute impunity.

The top 10 are :  Denmark (92); New Zealand (91); Finland (89); Sweden (87); Norway & Switzerland (86); Singapore (84); Nederlands (83); Luxemborg (82) and Canada (81).  At the bottom rung are : Eritrea, Libya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq,  South Sudan, Afghanistah, Sudan, North Korea and Somalia. 

Mr Ugaz warned of the dire consequences of corruption, which he said included the denial of basic human rights and prevention of economic development. 'Grand corruption in big economies not only blocks basic human rights for the poorest but also creates governance problems and instability.

India stands 85th in the rank with 38 points ~ and that speaks volumes !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                        5th Dec 2014.

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