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Corruption Perception Index 2023

  • 01 Feb 2024
  • 14 min read

For Prelims: Transparency International, Corruption, World Justice Project (WJP), Least Developed Country (LDC).

For Mains: Corruption Perception Index 2023, Transparency & Accountability in Governance, Common Causes of Corruption and its Prevention in India.

Source: IE

Why in News?

Recently, the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2023 has been released by Transparency International showing that most countries have made little to no progress in tackling public sector corruption.

  • The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the globe by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Transparency International

  • It is an international non -governmental organisation founded in 1993 based in Berlin, Germany
  • Its non-profit purpose is to take action to combat global Corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • Its most notable publications include the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perception Index.

What are the Key Highlights of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2023?

  • Serious Corruption Globally:
    • Over two-thirds of countries score below 50 out of 100, which strongly indicates that they have serious Corruption problems. 
    • The global average score is stuck at only 43, while the vast majority of countries have made no progress or declined in the last decade.
  • Global Highlights of CPI 2023:
    • Top Three Countries: Denmark with a score of 90 tops the index for the sixth consecutive year, with Finland and New Zealand following closely with scores of 87 and 85, respectively.
      • Due to well-functioning justice systems, these countries are also among the top scorers in the Rule of Law Index.
    • Bottom Spots: Somalia, Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen, with their scores 11, 13, 13, 13 respectively, take the bottom spots in the index.
      • They are all affected by protracted crises, mostly armed conflicts.
    • India's Rank and Score:
      • India was ranked 93 out of 180 countries on the CPI 2023.
      • The overall score for India in 2023 was 39, a slight decrease from 40 in 2022.
        • In 2022, India was ranked 85.

  • Link with Access to Justice and Corruption:
    • According to the Rule of Law Index, the world is experiencing a decline in the functioning of justice systems.
      • The Rule of Law Index is published by the World Justice Project (WJP), an independent organization that works to advance the rule of law globally.
      • The index provides data on several dimensions of the rule of law, which are further broken down into 44 indicators.
    • Countries with the lowest scores in the Rule of Law index are also scoring very low on the CPI, highlighting a clear connection between access to justice and corruption.
  • Factors Contributing to Corruption:
    • Both authoritarian and democratic leaders are undermining justice. This is increasing impunity for corruption, and even encouraging it by eliminating consequences for criminals.
    • Corrupt acts like bribery and abuse of power are also infiltrating many courts and other Judicial institutions across the globe.
    • Where corruption is the norm, vulnerable people have restricted access to justice while the rich and powerful capture whole justice systems, at the expense of the common good.
  • Key Recommendations:
    • Corruption will continue to thrive until justice systems can punish wrongdoing and keep governments in check. When corruption persists and justice is influenced by money or politics, it harms the general public.
    • It is high time to break the barriers and ensure people can access justice effectively. Everyone deserves fair and inclusive legal systems where victims’ voices are heard at every stage.

What is the State of Indian Neighbours in CPI 2023?

  • Pakistan and Sri Lanka:
    • Pakistan ranked 133 and Sri Lanka ranked 115 out of 180 countries.
    • Both countries grappled with their respective debt burdens and political instability.
    • However, both countries have strong judicial oversight, which helps to keep the government in check.
      • The Supreme Court of Pakistan strengthened citizens' right to information by expanding this right under Article 19A of its Constitution to previously restricted institutions.
  • Bangladesh:
    • Bangladesh (ranked 149) emerges from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status, with economic growth supporting a continued reduction in poverty and improving living conditions.
    • The flow of information on the public sector is hindered amidst an ongoing crackdown against the press.
  • China:
    • China (ranked 76) has its aggressive anti-corruption crackdown by punishing more than 3.7 million public officials for corruption over the last decade. In China public officials often use corruption as a way to drive up their income.
    • However, the country's heavy reliance on punishment rather than institutional checks on power raises doubts over the long-term effectiveness of such anti-corruption measures.

What is Corruption?

  • About:
    • Collusive Corruption: This occurs when individuals or entities conspire together to achieve dishonest or fraudulent objectives. It involves a cooperative effort between parties, often for mutual benefit, to undermine the integrity of systems or processes.
    • Coercive Corruption: In this form of corruption, individuals are compelled or forced to engage in dishonest activities.
      • Those who abuse their power may be individuals or they may belong to organizations, such as businesses or governments.
  • Reasons for Prevalence of Corruption in Public Service:
    • Patronage: Civil service positions being used as rewards for political support or exchanged for bribes can lead to widespread corruption.
      • When individuals are appointed based on loyalty rather than merit, it undermines the integrity of public institutions.
    • Wage Disparities: Lower wages for civil servants compared to the private sector may create financial pressure. Some employees might resort to taking bribes as a means to offset the income disparity and meet their financial needs.
    • Influence of Political Ideology: Political ideology's impact can nurture a corruption-friendly environment, where rewarding supporters irrespective of qualifications undermines fairness and accountability.
      • This can compel individuals to resort to corruption to obtain or retain positions, perpetuating an unethical cycle.

What are the Implications of Corruption?

  • On People and Public Life:
    • Lack of Quality in Services: In a system with corruption, there is low or no quality of service.
      • To demand quality, one might need to pay for it. This is seen in many areas like municipality, electricity, distribution of relief funds, etc.
    • Lack of Proper Justice: Corruption in the judiciary system leads to improper justice and victims of offense might suffer.
      • A crime may be proved as a benefit of the doubt due to a lack of evidence or even the evidence erased.
      • Due to corruption in the police system, the investigation process has been going on for decades.
    • Loss of Opportunity and Denial of Timely Service: Corruption not only inflicts financial and health-related challenges but also leads to a loss of opportunities for individuals.
      • The denial of timely services, job opportunities, and fair access to resources perpetuates inequality and impedes societal progress.
  • On Society:
    • Distrust in Government: Voters choose representatives based on trust, but if leaders are implicated in corruption, people lose faith and may abstain from voting next time (Voter Apathy).
    • Discouraging Whistle-Blowing Activities: In corruption prone environment, individuals are often discouraged from engaging in whistle-blowing activities.
      • Fear of retaliation, social stigma, or lack of effective protection mechanisms hinders the exposure of corrupt practices.
    • Normalisation of Corruption: In societies where corrupt practices become normalised, individuals may gradually accept such behavior as a routine part of public life. It weakens ethical fabric, making it challenging to instigate meaningful reforms.
  • On Economy:
    • Lack of Ease of Doing Business: Corruption often involves bribes and kickbacks, adding to the costs of doing business.
    • A Decrease in Foreign Investment: Corruption in government bodies has led to many foreign investments going back from developing countries.
    • Lack of Development: Many new industries willing to get started in a particular region change their plans if the region is unsuitable.
      • If there are no proper roads, water, and electricity, the companies do not wish to start up there, which hinders the economic progress of that region.
    • Red Tapism: Red tapism refers to excessive bureaucratic procedures, complex regulations, and administrative delays, which can create an environment prone to corrupt practices
    • Lack of Competition: Corruption often leads to the manipulation of markets, favoring certain businesses or individuals. This can result in monopolies or oligopolies, limiting competition and stifling innovation.
    • Prevalence of Black Money and Black Market: Black money, which is income not declared to the government, results in reduced tax revenues.
      • This limits the government's ability to fund essential public services and infrastructure projects.
      • The existence of a large black market can undermine the formal economy, as legal businesses face unfair competition from those operating in the shadows.


  • By establishing the Civil Service Board, the government can curb excessive political control. By simplifying the disciplinary process and strengthening preventive vigilance within the departments, it can be ensured that corrupt civil servants do not occupy sensitive positions.
  • Government can work on capacity building programmes like iGOT-Karmayogi, which is is a continuous online training platform, which would allow all government servants from assistant secretary to secretary level to undergo continuous training, depending on their domain areas.
  • It is important to emphasise value-based training to all civil servants to ensure probity in public life. Professional ethics should be an integral component in all the training courses and called for a comprehensive Code of Ethics for civil servants, based on the recommendations of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC).

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q1. With reference to the ‘Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (PBPT Act)’, consider the following statements: (2017)

  1. A property transaction is not treated as a benami transaction if the owner of the property is not aware of the transaction.
  2. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government.
  3. The Act provides for three authorities for investigations but does not provide for any appellate mechanism.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Ans: (b)


Q.2 Discuss how emerging technologies and globalisation contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels. (2021)

Q. “Institutional quality is a crucial driver of economic performance”. In this context suggest reforms in the Civil Service for strengthening democracy. (2020)

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