India was today ranked among the world's highly corrupt nations at the 94th spot in a global list topped by Denmark and New Zealand as the cleanest, while Somalia emerged as the most corrupt.
While India's rank has remained unchanged from the last year, it has emerged as more corrupt than three of its BRICS peers -- China (80th), South Africa and Brazil (both ranked 72nd) -- but better than Russia (127th) in this annual list of 177 countries compiled by Transparency International.
According to the list, India has scored 36 points on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. None of the countries have managed to get the perfect 100 score. Top-ranked Denmark and New Zealand have scored 91 points each to share the first place on the list.
Somalia shares lowest rank with North Korea and Afghanistan with 8 points each. Those scoring marginally better than these three countries include Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Syria, Haiti, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Myanmar.
On the other hand, Denmark and New Zealand are followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia and Canada in the top ten. Among other major countries, Germany is at 12th, the UK 14th, Hong Kong 15th, Japan 18th and the US at 19th spot.
India has done better than its neighbour Pakistan (ranked 127th), as also countries like Thailand (102nd), Mexico (106th), Egypt (114th), Nepal (116th), Vietnam (116th), Bangladesh (136th) and Iran (144th).
Releasing the list here today, Transparency International said that its "Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 offers a warning that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies around the world".
More than two thirds of 177 countries have scored below 50 -- the mid-way point between most corrupt and the cleanest. "The Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 demonstrates that all countries still face the threat of corruption at all levels of government, from the issuing of local permits to the enforcement of laws and regulations," said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
She said that many countries continue to face issues like state capture, campaign finance and the oversight of big public contracts which remain major corruption risks.
The Index is based on experts' opinions of public sector corruption, Transparency International said.
Countries' scores can be helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions, while a lack of accountability across the public sector coupled with ineffective public institutions hurts these perceptions, it added. "Corruption within the public sector remains one of the world's biggest challenges, Transparency International said, particularly in areas such as political parties, police, and justice systems. Public institutions need to be more open about their work and officials must be more transparent in their decision-making. Corruption remains notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute," it added.
Future efforts to respond to climate change, economic crisis and extreme poverty will face a massive roadblock in the shape of corruption, it warned, while urging international bodies like G20 to crack down on money laundering, make corporations more transparent and pursue the return of stolen assets.
"It is time to stop those who get away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt," Labelle said.