Karnataka has been ranked India’s most corrupt state in a survey carried out by a private think tank released on Thursday. According to the “CMS-India Corruption Study 2017” conducted by the Centre for Media Studies, more than 33% of households in the southern state are of the opinion that their government is “not at all committed” to reducing graft.
The findings are based on opinions from 3,000 households in more than 200 rural and urban regions of 20 states studied from October-November 2016 and January this year. Of all those surveyed in Karnataka, 77% said they had to pay bribes for public services, which indicates a rise in corruption in the state.
Karnataka was followed by its neighbours Andhra Pradesh (74%), Tamil Nadu (68%) and Maharashtra (57%). Jammu and Kashmir (44%) and Punjab (42%) took up the next two spots in the report, which was the 11th edition of the annual study conducted by CMS.
However, the study found a “definite decline” in both citizens’ experience with and people’s perception of corruption in public services. The CMS report said 43% believes that corruption had reduced in the country’s public services, compared to 73% in a 2005 study.
Himachal Pradesh (3%) was ranked the least corrupt, followed by Kerala (4%) and Chhattisgarh (13%). States that saw the biggest rise in graft were Odisha (68%), Karnataka (65%), Jharkhand (59%), Bihar (59%) and Chhattisgarh (56%).
The public services covered in the study include electricity, health, public distribution system, school education, banking, police, water supply, judicial services, tax services and land/housing. People experienced the most corruption in police services (34%), land/housing (24%) and judicial services (18%).
In total, households countrywide paid bribes amounting to Rs 6,350 crore, according to the report, with each paying some Rs 1,840 yearly bribes on average. CMS Chairman N Bhaskara Rao said the primary reasons that force the public to pay bribes remained consistent between 2005 and 2017, “indicating that there has been little focus on ground level issues while addressing corruption”.