Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 has once again highlighted how corruption is gnawing at the foundations of societies. Two thirds of the 176 countries surveyed scored below 50, on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Only 53 countries achieved the “passing grade” of 50. Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand were in a tie for the top spot with 90 points. Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan were at the bottom with mere 8 points.
The two Asian giants have little to cheer about. India is placed 94th against 95 th in 2011, logging a low score of 36. China has slipped five ranks to the 80th spot, scoring 39.
According to Transparency’s managing director Cobus de Swardt, institutions play a significant role in preventing corruption from flourishing globally. Sadly, corruption seems to have been institutionalised in many countries.
China’s President-designate Xi Jinping has warned that “…corruption would finally cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state” and wants war on corruption as the highlight of his regime. But sceptics are wary of “backroom amnesty”.
In India, Anna Hazare’s movement brought to the fore the simmering discontent against corruption among the urban middle class, and Arvind Kejriwal is hoping to exploit this disgust to gain power at least in the state of Delhi. These occasional outbursts or acts of defiance are not enough.
Former President of India, one who is still popular among the masses, Abdul Kalam said: “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” Unfortunately, the three have been a failure so far. They are either willing participants or mute spectators.