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Friday, January 23, 2009

Data on corruption in India

Did someone ask you for a bribe today? Do something new: Report it in an anonymous and safe fashion. Measurement and publicity about corruption will help reduce it.

This system is run by `Business Registry for International Bribery and Extortion' or BRIBEline.

What does this database show? They have a report and a press-release out on India. A report and press-release on China is also out.

The data shows that 30% of the demands for bribes in India are from the police while in China it is only 11%. There is a lot of interest in fighting terrorism today, but sadly, there is no short-cut to obtaining better law and order without fundamental surgery of the police and the judiciary. The beat constable who feasts on extortion, and is willing to be bribed by criminals, is a beat constable who will not be watchful for interesting information about impending attacks.

I feel the strangest thing about Slumdog Millionaire is the lack of outrage about the evil police that are shown in the film. In India, too often, the police have become criminals in uniform against whom the citizen has no recourse. We've grown numb, we accept this as a given. I think it's a real puzzle: Why is a participatory democracy unable to rein in the State, and ensure that public goods are delivered?

While on this subject, do read Lant Pritchett's `flailing state' paper.


  1. Lant Pritchett's note is wonderful.

    I think Indian politics will undergo a dramatic change over the next ten years. the issues over which we have bandhs, riots, et al, will change quite substantially.

    But, you are right, we have indeed become numb and hence we will unfortunately have to labour our way out of this mess, which as it stands today is so assumed to be simply, a way of life.

  2. What will happen if corruption is indeed measured accurately, yet the authorities in place refuse to acknowledge it.And especially in a country where accountability is not there.

    Take Zimbabwe as a case in point. What else signal/indicator do you need to realise that the country is in shambles. Inflation is high, corruption is infinite and poverty widespread. Yet nobody,nobody in the power bothers about it.

    I might appear cynical to compare India with Zimbabwe, but I find very less focus on increasing political accountability in election manifestos.


  3. I think the police get away with it because they are too often bashing "the other". People-Like-Us don't get tortured. So why bother? Remember, when the Bhagalpur Blindings case occurred (in 1980 or so) the residents of Bhagalpur in Bihar took a morcha to support the police. And after every terrorist outrage and/or rioting, "we" want to empower the police - and law-and-order mechanism - with more draconian laws. Unless there's collective dislike of torture, there can't be meaningful change. - Salil

  4. It is the system...and the politicians who want to keep it that way. Capturing data is a good beginning and a good start. Let us remain positive.

  5. as per my knowledge ISRO and defense are more corrupted in India than any other department. Under the pretext of high-tech and security of the nation both departments are diverting huge fund and fooling the gov media and public. For instance ISRO's moon mission was total failure. Moon Impact Probe NOT landed on the MOON surface. But corrupted ISRO Chief Mr.Nair misrepresented the facts to the public. Now he is bribing reportes not to disclose the truth. Controller and Audic General of India already hit-listed ISRO due to 6000 crore Rs. single tender. Mr.Nair foreign trips evidenced on many corruptions. DRDO and Airforce missile dealings are popular now. Public are fools.

  6. I think only way to curb corruption is to stop printing currency. What do you think?

  7. anyone from tamilnadu mi8 have seen the film INDIAN by director shankar.. A hindi version was also released but i forgot the name (acted by kamal hasan in tamil).. SUch a wonderful film .. If a true indian sees the film , they ll weep really ,thinking of how they are wasting the freedom which was obtained after a very tough fight..Especially the song pachai kiligal tholodu must hear and understand the lyrics..A true indian will cry and ppl who indulge in corruption after hearing the song must hang themselves as they arent fit to live in this world .. Hats off to director shankar for depicting the true state of india now and taking us in a short ride to the days of freedom struggle..Now coming to the corruption part , I m really afraid admin that listing out such data isnt of good use to us..Instead some good machinery must be put in place which may act independently against corrupt officials ,whoever it maybe (even the pm , if it turns out so !! ) , just like the election commission. This is the only solution for the problem. And those who are selected for duty in the commission must be monitored from their childhood and their behavior must be satisfactory and patriotic.. Actually this kinda monitoring is done in all developed countries and only those who are approved are allowed to contest for higher posts( even though they wont leak it out to the public !!)..last but not least , let us all sow the seeds of patriotism in our children and future generation !!
    JAI HIND !!

  8. Dear Ajay
    While your post on reporting bribe is highly appreciated, I would like to bring to your notice the I Paid a Bribe online initiative ( from Bangalore, India, the primary aim of which is to uncover the market price of corruption.

    Based on our first month's Bribe Reports posted by over 30,000 users, we have brought out statistical data detailing the amount of bribe paid in various government service departments. In future we aim to approach the concerned services with our analysis to work out a sustainable systemic change that will remove corruption from the picture.

    Find us on fb @

    I Paid a Bribe

  9. We Should fight against corruption. We will Solve it for sure.. Keep it up.. Good strategy..

  10. We all now witnessed the horrible corruption at India and fight against the corruption by great national leaders.
    Here is a nice article in which the author explains how Corruption can be solved (removed out) from India...
    Nice thought..and please share your valuable thought on the article...

  11. Thanjavur is highly corrupt and nanjikottai panchayat is most corrupt.VAOS charge hefty bribe for PATTA alottment of old plots where people are living for fifteen to twenty years .Innocent people are made to suffer due to negligence of clerks and surveyors in maintaining official records.
    another corrupt zone is Electricity board.They first position the Electric pole at the boundaries of private plot and therafter charge a hefty bribe to remove the inconvenience.They charge huge amt for fresh EB connectios and there is nothing we can do about it.


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