General Studies IIReports

Corruption Perception Index 2021


Recently, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 was released by Transparency International.

About Corruption Perception Index:

  • The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an index which ranks countries “by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.”
  • The CPI generally defines corruption as an “abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. 
  • The index is published annually by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International since 1995.
  • The 2021 CPI, published in January 2022, currently ranks 180 countries “on a scale from 100 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt)” based on the situation between May 2020 and May 2021.
  • Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore and Sweden are perceived as being the least corrupt nations in the world, ranking consistently high among international financial transparency,
  • The most perceived corrupt countries in the world are Syria, Somalia and South Sudan, scoring 13 and 11 out of 100 respectively in 2021.

What kind of corruption does the CPI measure?

The data sources used to compile the CPI specifically cover the following manifestations of public sector corruption:

  • Bribery
  • Diversion of public funds
  • Officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences
  • Ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector
  • Excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption
  • Nepotistic appointments in the civil service
  • Laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest
  • Legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption
  • State capture by narrow vested interests
  • Access to information on public affairs/government activities

The CPI does NOT cover:

  • Citizens’ direct perceptions or experience of corruption
  • Tax fraud
  • Illicit financial flows
  • Enablers of corruption (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors etc)
  • Money-laundering
  • Private sector corruption
  • Informal economies and markets

India’s Performance in Corruption Perception Index 2021:

  • India ranked 85 among 180 countries in the current index (86 in 2020 and 80 in 2019). Transparency International gave India a CPI score of 40.
    • Except Bhutan, all of India’s neighbours are ranked below it. Pakistan dropped 16 spots in the index and was ranked at 140.
  • The country’s score has remained stagnant over the past decade, some of the mechanisms that could help reign in corruption are weakening.
  • There are concerns over the country’s democratic status, as fundamental freedoms and institutional checks and balances decay.
    • Anyone that speaks up against the government has been targeted with securitydefamation, seditionhate speech and contempt-of-court charges, and with regulations on foreign funding.

Fall of Democracy:

  • From the repression of opposition supporters in Belarus, to the closing of media outlets and civil society organisations in Nicaragua, the deadly violence against protesters in Sudan and the killing of human rights defenders in the Philippines, human rights and democracy are under threat around the world.
  • Increasingly, rights and checks and balances are being undermined not only in countries with systemic corruption and weak institutions, but also among established democracies.
    • Since 2012, 90% of countries have stagnated or declined in their civil liberties score on the Democracy Index.
  • The global Covid-19 pandemic has also been used in many countries as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances.
  • And despite the increasing international momentum to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies, many high-scoring countries with relatively “clean” public sectors continue to enable transnational corruption.
  • The current wave of authoritarianism is not driven by coups and violence, but by gradual efforts to undermine democracy. This usually begins with attacks on civil and political rights, efforts to undermine the autonomy of oversight and election bodies, and control of the media.
  • Such attacks allow corrupt regimes to evade accountability and criticism, allowing corruption to flourish.


  • Peoples Demand:
    • To end the vicious cycle of corruption, human rights violations and democratic decline, people should demand that their governments:
      • Uphold the rights needed to hold power to account.
      • Restore and strengthen institutional checks on power.
      • Combat transnational forms of corruption.
      • Uphold the right to information in government spending.
  • Address Fundamental Failings:
    • To forge ahead together in sustainable anti-corruption efforts, economic recovery strategies should address the fundamental failings that have led to many countries’ corrupt systems.
    • Effective control of corruption and common prosperity can only be achieved through the engagement of informed people who are able to assemble freely, speak openly and blow the whistle on corruption without fear of reprisal.
  • Anti- Corruption Agencies:
    • Countries with no anti-corruption agency or weakening institutions should uphold the 2012 Jakarta Statement on Principles for Anti-Corruption Agencies, its Colombo Commentary and regional commitments such as the Teieniwa Vision, alongside all other steps required by the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
      • The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument.

  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
  • The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010
  • The Companies Act, 2013
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
  • Central Vigilance Commission

Source: Indian Express

Transparency International

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