Fewer Indians paid bribes in the last one year than in the preceding 12 months, non-governmental anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International India said in a survey report on Wednesday. The percentage of respondents who admitted to paying a bribe was 51% this year, as compared to 56% in the previous survey. However, the figure for 2019 was higher than that for 2017, when it was 45%.

The organisation conducted its India Corruption Survey 2019 along with Local Circles, a social media firm, with 1.9 lakh responses from about 81,000 unique respondents in 248 districts across 20 states. India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index, a survey conducted by Transparency International, has risen three places to 78 out of 180 countries, the NGO said.

Transparency International India said 24% citizens admitted to paying bribes several times in the last 12 months, and 27% said they had paid bribes once or twice. As many as 35% of the respondents who admitted to paying bribes said they did so in cash. Moreover, 44% of citizens said that they paid a bribe in an office that had computerisation, while 16% said that they paid a bribe despite the office having a functional CCTV system.

As many as 48% of the total respondents alleged that their state government had taken no steps in the last 12 months to cut down on corruption.

Bribes had to be paid the most in matters of property registration and land, Transparency International India said. As many as 49% of the respondents said bribery in property registration and land-related matters has remained the same as during the previous year.

Regarding bribery to police officials, an identical percentage – 11% – said it had increased and decreased in the past 12 months.

Lower instances of corruption were reported from Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa and Odisha, the survey said. On the other hand, corruption was high in Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab.

In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised a “corruption-free government”. He claimed that a massive crackdown on corruption had begun.

In June, the Centre had forced 15 tax officials facing corruption charges to retire. In August, it did the same with 22 tax officials. Transparency International India said citizens and businesses had welcomed these moves.