Cities Reek of Corruption: Survey

Netizens may love to anoint Hyderabad as Cyberabad. But its inhabitants think the city government is reeking with corruption. If the residents of Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune reflect a slightly better opinion of their local governments it is only in contrast to what the Hyderabadis think about their government.

In each of these six cities, the departments dealing with driving license and ration cards are perceived as most corrupt.

The urban development authority and the electricity and telephone departments are, in many cases, seen as only a step behind.

And, on an average, one in every two persons has at one point or the other greased a palm to get his work done.

Not surprisingly, it is the politician who tops the charts for fuelling corruption except in Hyderabad where the “officer” is pulled out of the shadow and held accountable.

These are among the findings of the first-ever survey done to map the level and extent of corruption.

Although the exercise, conducted by Centre of Media Studies, is confined to six cities and six public utility services, it reflects the stranglehold of the phenomenon that cuts across social and geographic barriers, as indicated in the selection of cities and samples.

Billed to be an annual exercise, the CMS survey clearly intends to turn “social auditing’ into a buzzword of the near future as it traces its inspiration to Chief Vigilance commissioner N.Vittal’s initiatives against corruption.

The survey, based on a sample of 900 between October 31 and November 4,2000 on the eve of the nation-wide Vigilance Awareness Week through “Exit Polls”. People visiting public offices during this period were included in the survey.

The offices covered included the urban development authority, city government, electricity, telephone, driving license and ration card/civil supplies departments.

Hindustan Times 12-1-2001


(In percentage) Urban Dev. Authority City Govt. Electricity Telephone Drive Licence Ration Card
Delhi 51 46 53 43 72 72
Lucknow 62 45 66 25 83 57
Chennai 54 52 65 64 86 80
Hyderabad 56 68 54 45 86 82
Pune 23 45 36 28 67 59
Ahemdabad 82 - 40 - - 33

What Delhiites say

* Two-thirds of those interviewed believe corruption in Delhi is “real” and not exaggerated. Forty per cent admitted to having given a bribe. An equal number admit having got their work done through middlemen’.

* Two-third visitors to the Delhi Vidyut Board think it is corrupt; 70 per cent feel the same about the civil supply office; nearly half of those who visited MCD and DDA offices think likewise. Forty per cent hold the same opinion about MTNL.

* Sixty per cent think judiciary is not able to tackle corruption cases due to outdated laws. Fifty-five per cent feel that corruption in public offices is not dealt with seriously.

* Politicians and officers are considered as responsible for corruption in public utility services.

* More than 60 per cent visitors to these offices were not aware of the Vigilance Awareness Week during which the survey was conducted.