Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023 08:45 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023 03:05 [IST]

Consolidating its place

The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released on January 31 by the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) shows that leaders have ignored anti-corruption efforts, with levels of corruption stagnating across the region for a fourth straight year. The Asia Pacific region was home to a number of important diplomatic summits this year, including the G20, but leaders emphasised economic recovery at the expense of corruption and other priorities. To make matters worse, governments maintained and in some cases expanded restrictions on civic space and basic freedoms imposed during the pandemic, escalating a worrisome trend toward authoritarianism. It simply means that most countries are failing to stop corruption.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average remains unchanged for over a decade at just 43 out of 100. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, while 26 countries have fallen to their lowest scores yet. Despite concerted efforts and hard-won gains by some, 155 countries have made no significant progress against corruption or have declined since 2012. Global peace has been deteriorating for 15 years. Corruption has been both a key cause and result of this. Corruption undermines governments' ability to protect people and erodes public trust, provoking more and harder to control security threats. On the other hand, conflict creates opportunities for corruption and subverts governments' efforts to stop it. Even countries with high CPI scores play a role in the threats that corruption poses to global security. For decades, they have welcomed dirty money from abroad, allowing kleptocrats to increase their wealth, power and destructive geopolitical ambitions.

While every country faces different corruption challenges, this year’s index reveals ongoing stagnation around the world. Countries in the top-scoring region, Western Europe and the European Union, have been at a standstill for over a decade or have declined over the past five years. Undue influence over decision-making, poor enforcement of integrity safeguards and threats to the rule of law continue to undermine governments’ effectiveness. On the other end of the index, countries with low scores are also unable to make significant progress. In many parts of the Americas, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, restrictions and attacks on civic space and basic freedoms continue as multiple crises threaten security and stability, democracy and human rights. Similarly, in various Asia Pacific countries, rising authoritarianism dilutes civil society’s function as a watchdog, while many leaders are prioritising economic recovery over anti-corruption efforts. In the Middle East and North Africa, where unequal political and economic power is deeply intertwined with conflict, corruption is undermining democratic processes, causing pervasive civil unrest and fuelling violence.

Last year, India's rank improved one place to 85 among 180 countries in the 2021 index of 2021, however, TI had raised concern over the country's democratic status. This year, we have not made any progress, and sit snug at 85 like last year. The CPI says that while "India is considered the largest democracy in the world and holds steady on the CPI, but the government continues to consolidate power and limit the public’s ability to respond." This is one major hurdle India needs to overcome.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi