India has highest bribery rate in Asia Pacific, Vietnam second: Survey

Berlin/New Delhi: India has the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries, a survey has showed.

As per the survey, conducted by international anti-graft rights group Transparency International, over two-thirds of Indians had to pay ‘tea money’ or fork out other forms of bribe to get public services. However, more than half of the respondents from India were positive about the government’s efforts to battle against bribery.

Sixty-nine percent in India said they had to pay a bribe, followed by 65 percent in Vietnam. China was much lower at 26 percent while the same for Pakistan was 40 percent, the survey showed.

Japan had the lowest incidence of bribery — at 0.2 percent. South Korea also fared well at a mere three percent.

However, it is China which seems to have seen the highest increase, with 73 percent in the survey saying the bribery has gone up in their country over the past year while India comes in at seventh place (41 percent) — higher than countries like Pakistan, Australia, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

In the survey of more than 20,000 people in 16 countries spanning the Asia-Pacific region, an estimated 900 million said they had to pay a bribe at least once in the past one year.

The police topped the list of public services most often demanding a bribe while 38 percent of the poorest surveyed said they paid a bribe, which is the highest proportion of any income group.

The survey asked people how often they had to pay a bribe, give a gest bribery rate in Asia Paciift, or do a favour, including for the police, judge or court officials, teachers, hospital staff or a government official for getting some documents or services.

“Governments must do more to deliver on their anti-corruption commitments. It’s time to stop talking and act. Millions of people are forced to pay bribes for public services and it is the poor who are most vulnerable,” said Jose Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.

The results show that lawmakers across the region need to do much more to support whistleblowers and governments must keep promises to combat corruption, including their commitments to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, Transparency International said.

Ugaz further added that “without proper law enforcement corruption thrives. Bribery is not a small crime, it takes food off the table, it prevents education, it impedes proper healthcare and ultimately it can kill”.

As part of a regional series for the Global Corruption Barometer, Transparency International spoke to nearly 22,000 people about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region.