India’s corruption perception index 2023: Ranked 93 out of 180 countries

The report highlighted concerns over the narrowing civic space in India, particularly with the passage of a telecommunication bill that could pose a threat to fundamental rights, especially leading up to elections.

India maintained its position at 93 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2023, according to Transparency International’s latest report. The index evaluates countries based on perceived levels of corruption in the public sector, using a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). India’s score remained steady at 39, slightly lower than its 2022 score of 40, with a corresponding rank of 85 last year.

Transparency International noted that while India’s score showed minor fluctuations, no significant conclusions could be drawn regarding substantial changes. The report highlighted concerns over the narrowing civic space in India, particularly with the passage of a telecommunication bill that could pose a threat to fundamental rights, especially leading up to elections.

In South Asia, Pakistan (ranked 133) and Sri Lanka (ranked 115) grapple with their debt burdens and political instability. Despite these challenges, strong judicial oversight in both countries helps keep government actions in check. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has expanded citizens’ right to information, enhancing accountability.

Bangladesh (ranked 149) is transitioning from a least developed country status, experiencing economic growth and poverty reduction. However, an ongoing crackdown on the press hampers the flow of information on public sector activities.

The report also highlighted China’s (ranked 76) aggressive anti-corruption measures, resulting in the punishment of over 3.7 million public officials in the last decade. However, reliance on punishment rather than institutional checks raises doubts about long-term effectiveness.

The Asia Pacific region faces a pivotal 2024 election year, with countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and others heading to the polls. Despite this, the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index reveals minimal progress in curbing corruption across the region. Seventy-one per cent of countries in the region scored below the global and regional averages, indicating widespread corruption and a lack of effective anti-corruption measures.

Countries like New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, and Japan maintain high scores due to robust corruption control mechanisms. However, fragile states with authoritarian regimes, including North Korea and Myanmar, remain at the bottom of the index. Afghanistan, facing a humanitarian crisis, also ranks poorly.

While some countries in the Asia Pacific region maintain high levels of transparency and accountability, many continue to struggle with corruption. Weak governance, limited accountability mechanisms, and crackdowns on civil society contribute to this ongoing challenge. Addressing corruption requires sustained efforts to strengthen institutions, promote transparency, and uphold the rule of law.