8 charts that show that corruption is still a way of life in India

8 charts that show that corruption is still a way of life in India
India against corruption protestors in PuneWikimedia Commons


  • A report by Transparency International India and Local Circles shows that more than half of Indians pay bribes.
  • Most of the bribes are being demanded by the police, for property registration, municipality, and transport department.
  • Citizens claim ‘it was the only way to get work done’.
It’s no secret that corruption is a rampant issue in India. Even though there’s been some improvement — India still ranks 78th out of 108 countries on the Corruption Perception Index.

More than half of the people in India pay bribes to state and local officials because ‘it was the only way to get work done’, according to a survey by Local Circles and Transparency International India.

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They gathered 190,000 responses at national and state levels to ascertain the corruption faced by normal citizens — and it doesn’t look like the situation is improving.

These 8 charts that show that corruption is still a way of life in India:
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51% citizens paid a bribe in the last 12 months to get out of trouble

51% citizens paid a bribe in the last 12 months to get out of trouble

Over half the citizens surveyed paid a bribe in the last 12 months. It’s an improvement over last year when Transparency International recorded that 56% paid bribes. However, the improvement isn’t by much.

They claim that 'it was the only way to get work done'

They claim that 'it was the only way to get work done'

The most common reason for paying a bribe to a government official is that ‘it was the only way to get work done’ and is. If it hadn’t been, citizens claim that it was the only way to fast-track their work. Without the bribe, it would have taken significantly longer.

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Most of the bribes were paid out in cash

Most of the bribes were paid out in cash

The primary mode of bribing officials is still cash, but one-third of the citizens have paid bribes indirectly through agents. The incidence of ‘agents’ coming into the picture has shown a 5% jump over 2018 when only 25% of the respondents reported paying through a third-party.

Bribes are being paid even when CCTVs are monitoring government offices

Bribes are being paid even when CCTVs are monitoring government offices

Government officials are accepting bribes even in offices that are equipped with functional CCTVs. This is despite the fact that the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 entails seven years of imprisonment or a fine or both if anyone is caught giving a bribe.

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Bribes are prevalent not just with police and property registration but other top departments as well

Bribes are prevalent not just with police and property registration but other top departments as well

The police department, property registration, municipality, and transport are the top departments where bribes are being demanded. This shows that even though centralised services may have reduced corruption, most citizen services are still subject to bribery.

Even with new laws and claims of reduction in corruption, most citizens see bribery continuing as before

Even with new laws and claims of reduction in corruption, most citizens see bribery continuing as before

In 2018, the Indian government identified corrupt employees in the Finance Ministry and relieved them of their duties.

The government repeated this same exercise this year with the tax department.

It needs to continue to do this in order to reduce the incidence of corruption and set a precedent of intolerance against bribery, the report said. Transparency International India also recommends that the same level of vigilance should be employed by state governments to reduce corruption at their level.

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Most states do not have a functioning hotline to report bribery and corruption

Most states do not have a functioning hotline to report bribery and corruption

An obstacle in the implementation of anti-corruption laws at a state and local level is that there is no functional hotline to report the demands of bribes. Even if a citizen wanted to expose that they were being extorted for money in exchange for getting their work done, they wouldn’t know where to go.

​The government hasn’t taken any steps to improve the situation — even if they have, citizens don’t think it was very effective​

​The government hasn’t taken any steps to improve the situation — even if they have, citizens don’t think it was very effective​

Citizens don’t seem to have any faith in the existing system to curb corruption. Most of them report that the state and local governments haven’t taken any steps to improve the current state of affairs. Others report that even though some movement has happened, it hasn’t done much to improve the situation — bribery is still prevalent.

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