Petty corruption in India has come down sharply, but the total estimated bribe paid by households in last one year for public services — including amounts of as low as Rs 10 — still stands high at Rs 6,350 crore, says a study. According to CMS-Indian Corruption Study (CMS-ICS) 2017, around one-third of the households experienced corruption in public services at least once during the last one year, while in 2005, 53 per cent households had reported so. Only 43 per cent of the households surveyed in 2017 opined that the level of corruption in public services has risen during the last one year, while 73 per cent of respondents had perceived increase in corruption level in public services in 2005. The study said that the decline in corruption is significant in case of some public services such as police and judicial services, when compared to 2005 levels. Total amount paid by households across 20 states and 10 public services as bribe, is estimated to be Rs 6,350 crore in 2017 as against Rs 20,500 crore in 2005. In most of the states, the more often paid bribe amount ranges between Rs 100-500.
However an amount of as low as Rs 10 and as high as Rs 50,000 was also paid by households in a year for availing one or the other public service. Among public services, households reported experiencing corruption in police was at 34 per cent, followed by land/housing (24 per cent), judicial services (18 per cent) and tax (15 per cent) and PDS (12 per cent). The study, which covered more than 3,000 households from over 200 rural and urban clusters of 20 states, noted a definite decline in both perception and experience of citizens about corruption in public services between 2005 and 2017. Besides, it said that key reasons for paying bribe in a public service continues to be similar in most of the states, between 2005 and 2017. The reasons for corrupt practices could be broadly categorised as procedural; documentation related; payment evasion and dependency on service provider. Out of 20 states, households experiencing corruption in public services during last one year was highest in Karnataka (77 per cent) followed by Andhra Pradesh (74 per cent), Tamil Nadu (68 per cent), Maharashtra (57 per cent), J&K (44 per cent) and Punjab (42 per cent). In 2005, the percentage of households experiencing corruption in public services were more in Bihar (74 per cent), J&K (69 per cent), Odisha (60 per cent), Rajasthan (59 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (59 per cent). According to the study, three less corrupt states in terms of households 'experiencing corruption in public services' are Himachal Pradesh (3 per cent) followed by Kerala (4 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (13 per cent). In 2005, Kerala (35 per cent), Maharashtra (39 per cent) and Gujarat (43 per cent) were the less corrupt states.