India continues to be widely perceived as a highly corrupt nation, with Transparency International's corruption perception index (CPI) 2009 ranking the country at 84 out of the 180 surveyed. There is no significant difference from India's earlier standing at the 85th position last year.
India's integrity score, a major component of the survey, stands at 3.4 out of the highest score of 10, which indicates that the country has a long way to go as far as eradicating corruption is concerned. However, the good news is that India's integrity score is the second-highest one among all south Asian countries. Bhutan, with a score of 5, fared the best in the integrity parameter among all south Asian countries.
The top three countries with the highest CPI score and rank are New Zealand, followed by Denmark and Sweden. A country with a higher score is considered to be less corrupt.
India's rank has been calculated by collecting data from 13 sources. All sources measure the overall extent of corruption by gauging the frequency and size of bribes in public and political sectors. The survey does not take into consideration corruption in private sector enterprises.
India was ranked 72nd in 2007. However, the cash-for-vote scandal in 2008 brought the country down to the 85th position in the same year. The perception of corruption among politicians and public service officers still persist and has continued to affect India's rankings in the index in 2009.
"It is a commonly perceived notion that politicians are spending too much on elections and that corruption prevails. India's performance for this year is not a flattering one and one can only draw comfort from the fact that it has not fared worse than last year," Transparency International India Chairman R H Tahliani said.
Out of the various departments analysed, India's police department fares the worst in terms of corruption, while school education was the sector where least corruption prevails. The most corrupt state is Bihar, followed by Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.