Dispelling India’s corruption myths

Apart from governmental corruption, India is less corrupt in other important areas

Political corruption attracts headlines and popular attention, and reinforces the stereotype that India lags behind many other countries when it comes to corruption.

But headline corruption does not convey the full picture — a deeper look at the 2004 Global Corruption Barometer report shows that beyond corrupt government officials, Indians perceive key areas such as the business sector, media and armed forces are relatively less corrupt, compared to what their counterparts in Japan and the United States think of theirs. India’s religious institutions too match the global average, performing better than Japan’s.

2004 Global Corruption Barometer Analysis

This is not to suggest that corruption in institutions such as the parliament or judiciary is unimportant, but to highlight the fact that the problem does not extend to all spheres of life. A good comparison would have been with China; but Transparency International appears to have been, ahem, unable to collect data for this country.

Related Link: The Sassy Lawyer observes that political parties, parliaments, cops and courts are generally the most corrupt for any given country.

5 thoughts on “Dispelling India’s corruption myths”

  1. The US has a more corrupt military than India? The report actually does not measure or way corruption in a manner that could lead you to make a statement like this based on the report. Please look at the methodology. One should realize quickly that this is an opinion pole and like all opinion poles reflects perceptions which may or many not be a good reflection of reality. This report does not put to rest anything. It is an indicator of the public in a country. So US citizens see their military as more corrupt than Indians see their own military (the US has two hundred years of deep ingrained distrust of any government and perhaps people in the US hold their officials to a much higher and possible irrational level of distrust) . What does that mean? It means exactly that and nothing else. The reality of corruption in both bodies is absolutely not monitored. Your conjectures and assertions are unsupportable based on the actual structure and methodology of the report.
    At the same time this does not mean your assertions are incorrect just that you have misread the report and its intent. Indeed you are actually saying that a poll of local peoples opinions conflict with the opinions of people who live out side of said country.

  2. Robi,

    You are right — the barometer is based on polling people on how they perceive institutions in their own countries. What this means is that on the whole, Americans perceive their military as more corrupt than Indians perceive theirs. I’ve modified the post to reflect this.

    This does not change the object of my post, which is to suggest that in India, several key institutions are relatively less corrupt.

  3. And that Indians perceive key areas such as the business sector, media and armed forces are relatively less corrupt, compared to what their counterparts in Japan and the United States think of theirs.

  4. I still don’t see how it dispels any myths. I think you are making some useful points but nothing so far proves or disproves that India is a corrupt country. Local population perception of corruption as well as their standards are of course completely subjective. Indeed there are countries that are very corrupt whose populations think they are the paragons of virtue as well as countries where the population has great distrust of all governments and authority as well as stricter standards of what constitutes corruption as will perceive or believe their government is very corrupt. Comparing the opinions of said populations opinions is only interesting to see from a view point how those populations perceive them selves but you can not then do actual comparisons of the depth or amount of corruption in the countries. I think the title of this post implies this but the changes in your text I think are more reasonable.
    Anyways just ignore me I am being a pendant.

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