30 June:One third of people living below poverty line in India paid bribes to access healthcare, education and water among other basic facilities, says a new study which also dubs the police force as the most corrupt among the services surveyed.
The joint study by Transparency International India and non-profit research organisation Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in 2007 found that one-third of BPL households paid Rs 9,000 million as bribes in the year for availing one or more of the 11 public services covered in the survey.
The services include Public Distribution System (PDS), Hospital Service, Senior Secondary School Education, electricity and water supply.
Need-based services included National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, land records and registration, forest, housing, banking and police service.
The ‘TII-CMS India Corruption Study 2007’ revealed that police tops the chart, as far as corruption in 11 selected public services is concerned.
Of the 5.6 million BPL households that interacted with the police last year, a whopping 2.5 million paid Rs 2,150 million as bribe for some work or the other and most of them went to the police station for simple registration of a complaint, it said.
Land records and registration services comes second in terms of monetary contribution as nearly 3.5 million BPL households paid Rs 1,224 million as bribe.
A total of 22,728 BPL households were surveyed across the states throughout the country adopting the perception, experience and estimation (PEE) model.
The methodology included household level sample Survey, exit interviews at service delivery outlets, discussions with the concerned ‘service providers’ in each case and observations on display of information at the service delivery points.
"This kind of corruption that denies people their entitlement to basic and need-based services, many of which may be ‘free’ by law, results in the poor finding themselves at the losing end of the corruption chain," said Admiral (Retd.) R H Tahiliani, Chair of Transparency International India (TII).
"This results in increased disparity in income, while the guilty acts with impunity," he said.
"This also increases disparity in income and deepens poverty," he added.
"The ultimate proof of inclusive growth and bridging the divides is the extent of access to essential public services by those below poverty line.
That is what this 2007 study of TII-CMS brings out," according to N Bhaskara Rao, Chairman, CMS.
The TII-CMS study also revealed that PDS service was not readily available as 5.36 million BPL families had to pay bribe or use a contact to avail services that were basically meant for them and majority pointed out that they had bribed officials or staff in order to get ration card.
The survey found that the situation at government hospitals was very disappointing as almost 4 million BPL households had to bribe hospital staff to get services like getting admission in the hospital, getting a bed, diagnostic services and getting an OPD card.
The total amount of bribe paid to the hospital staff/official by poor in the last one year is estimated to be Rs 870 million.
Nearly one million households were denied hospital services simply because they either refused to offer bribe or could not afford that kind of money, to pay hospital staff/official, said the study.
"For such people, the consequences of ill health are particularly bleak. Also corruption literally violates their human rights, as they are denied the care that the government is obliged to provide," says Anupama Jha, Executive Director, Transparency International India.
The survey further revealed that in order to get electricity connection or to get faulty meter rectified, people have to bribe officials/staff of the electricity department.
Similarly, staff and officials of school indulge in corrupt practices in order to admit the child of poor parents, issuing certificates to them and promoting the child from one class to another.
It was found that amount paid as bribe by BPL households was Rs 120 million for availing school services, the study pointed out.
According to the Project Director of the study, Subrato K. Mondal, CMS, "several welcome initiatives like RTI Act, e-governance including massive computerisation etc. will only be effective to bring transparency in the system if the information is available in the public domain". courtsey : dd news