Transparency International: corruption on the rise in South Asian nations
As per the study report of South Asia by the Transparency International (TI), corruption is on the rise in the region which is undermining the efforts to lift millions of people out of poverty. The report “Fighting Corruption in South Asia: Building accountability” finds that there is little protection for whistleblowers and citizens find it difficult to procure key information to hold authorities accountable. The Right to Information (RTI) Act or similar law are in place in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Maldives while a new law is under discussion in Pakistan. In case of Sri Lanka, the right to information is “non-existent” amidst demands for such a law.
The report analyses the efforts by the anti corruption agencies in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and concludes that political interference is the agencies ineffective. All the six nations score under 40 out of 100 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating rampant public sector corruption. According to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2013, citizens in South Asia see corruption in the public sector as a serious problem and two-thirds in the region feel that it had increased in their country in during the past two years. Just 20 percent of people in the region feel that their government’s anti-graft actions are effective, a significant fall from the figure of 39 per cent in 2011.
In the region, only Bangladesh and India have passed law for the protection of the whistleblowers.. This has made it difficult for the region to come out of the vicious cycle of corruption and threatens to jeopardise the political system and stability in the region.
TI says that in spite of economic growth averaging 6 percent annually over the past few years, nearly one-third of the 1.6 billion people of the region live on less than $1.25 a day. TI has called for investment in transparency calling it the best investment that the governments can ever make.