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Modi's India Is Short In Cash, But Not In Corruption

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This article is dated January 25, 2017.

Cash may be still in short supply in India, as the country tries to cope with Prime Minister Modi’s recent experiment with rupee notes
. But not corruption.

That’s according to recently released numbers from Transparency International, which show that India slid three positions in the 2016 country ranking compared to 2015, from 76 to 79
-- though it nudged up two positions, from 38 t0 40, in Transparency corruption Index. That’s something investors in Indian stocks should take notice of.

CountryCorruption Index in 2010Corruption Index 2015Corruption Index in 2016

Source: Transparency International

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hada bright idea on how to solve India’s corruption problem quickly: get rid of “black money,” ie the 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

The trouble is he didn’t do his homework to figure out how his plan could be carried out.

This was evidenced by the breaking of ATM machines and long lines outside banks, and drying up of liquidity, which brought the nation’s economy to a standstill.

, Modi’s currency experimentation didn’t solve the problem it was designed for corruption. The Transparency International numbers confirm that.

To be fair, Modi’s currency experiment took place towards the end of the year, so it is too early to determine whether it had any significant impact on the country’s corruption ranking.

Still, the aggravation of corruption rates confirms that Prime Minister Modi has been ineffective in fighting both small and big corruption. “
India’s ongoing poor performance with a score of 40 reiterates the state’s inability to effectively deal with petty corruption as well as large-scale corruption scandals,” states Transparency International. “The impact of corruption on poverty, illiteracy and police brutality shows that not only the economy is growing – but also inequality.”


I know BJPWala's will be up in arms at this post, but can we have a discussion without the party view.

What do the common people feel about retail corruption in their day-to-day life?

My family members are divided on party lines. Nonparty affiliated friends do not see any difference in the corruption level, on the contrary, they claim that Bank, Revenue, Income Tax officials are rolling in cash.



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One of the main objective of the current Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to make India corruption free. But it seems the country still has a long way to go. A recent survey by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption global civil society organization, states that India has the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries surveyed. Nearly seven in 10 people who accessed public services in India had paid a bribe. In contrast, Japan has the lowest bribery rate, with 0.2% respondents paying a bribe.

Approximately 900 million -- or over one in four -- people across 16 countries in Asia Pacific, including some of its biggest economies like India and China, are estimated to have paid a bribe to access public services. For its report titled "People and Corruption: Asia Pacific", TI spoke to nearly 22,000 people in these countries about their recent experiences with corruption.

Even massive economic players like China aren't that far behind India. The biggest economy in the region has a lot to do in terms of fighting corruption. Nearly three quarters of the people surveyed in the country said corruption has increased over the past three years, suggesting people don’t see much work happening against corruption.



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Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously said “na khaoonga, na khaane doonga” on corruption in India. But has a similar anti-corruption sentiment trickled down to the local level?

A survey by the Centre of Media Studies, a think-tank focusing on developmental research and media advocacy, answers these questions. The survey ‘CMS-India Corruption Study 2017’ covers rural and urban households from 20 states and focuses on ‘perception’ of corruption in delivery of services like health, electricity, PDS, judicial and banking services.

The CMS study indicates a higher number of people have first-hand experiences of corruption in Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu follow close behind. People in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala reported the least experiences of corruption in public services.

34% of households admitted to having experienced corruption when dealing with the police. Land/housing departments (24%), judicial services (18%) and the tax departments (15%) were perceived to be relatively less corrupt.
Interestingly, the report argues that services with high levels of corruption experienced are those which are ‘need-based and monopolistic.’

Alternatives for services like the police and judiciary are hard to come by, so the report recommends that initiatives like computerised land records, e-FIRs, online filing of taxes and e-courts should be encouraged.​

In fact, the report recommends that these public departments should step up their social media presence to make their grievance redressal faster and easier.



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A growing number of American companies are turning to India to recreate or replace their China experience, as profitability and grip on the Chinese market starts to slip.

Apple has completed a trial run of the first-ever iPhones assembled in India, "a small number of iPhone SE," the company told CNBC on Tuesday. The iPhone SE is one of its lower-priced models already available in India.

Armed with their massive war chests, drug manufacturers, big-box retailers and information technology behemoths are racing to expand their businesses to India. Many richly valued Silicon Valley start-ups are also beginning to crack — or even be founded within — the Indian market.

The world's fastest-growing economy, with the GDP hovering around 7 percent, India has edged ahead of China and is growing much faster than the developed world. It's also currently the world's third-largest economy, on course to eclipse the United States to become the world's second-largest economy by 2050, according to a recentPricewaterhouseCoopers report.

While there's little doubt about growth opportunities in India, they are scattered over an obstacle course of opaque rules, inconsistent regulations and other hurdles, including deeply rooted corruption. Foreign businesses like Apple need to contend with challenges even before, and while, dealing with some of the more commercial issues of price sensitivity, a crowded and competitive market and raw material sourcing.

India's endemic corruption is one of the biggest drags on its attractiveness as a place to do business. U.S. firms, particularly those frustrated with Chinese red tape and corruption, will find themselves in no better position in India.

"India isn't easy," said Ravin Gandhi, CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, which manufactures for some of the largest global kitchenware firms and who is a member of the CNBC-YPO Chief Executive Network.

Gandhi, who has set up manufacturing operations in both China and India, the latter more recently as global forces require more companies to seek out new, low-cost manufacturing locales, said there is only one option: Deal with it.
"Many American companies fail in India because they're afraid to get on a plane and get their hands dirty. If you have a bad attitude going in, you've already lost the battle," he said. "Success overseas takes persistence and unrelenting drive. … Like most aspects of business, setting up an Indian operation is messy and can be very hard."

A graft is part and parcel of growing business in this market, said Neha Dharia, a Bangalore, India-based analyst with London technology research firm Ovum. "Foreign companies wishing to do business in India also fail to estimate the microlevel at which corruption exists. It is not just a question of corrupt officials at the higher level, but this runs right through the ranks."

It's little surprise that India ranks 105 out of 124 countries on the World Economic Forum's worldwide Human Capital Index, much below neighboring China (71), the United States (24) and the U.K. (19). The index quantifies how countries nurture, develop and deploy skill for economic growth.

This shortage of skill is best explained by the fact that only 2.3 percent of India's workforce has received formal skills training as compared to its counterparts in the developed world, including the U.K. (68 percent), Germany (75 percent) and the United States (52 percent).

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Video : Watch How Finance Bill 2017 Has Legalised

CorruptionCorruption in India has now been legalized. Yes, you read that right.

A disastrous Finance Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 22 March 2017 as a money bill with 40 different amendments and the whole mainstream media was silent on it.

One of the amendments included removing the upper limit for corporate donation to political party. Another one removed the requirement to specify which political party, a company is funding. This makes the whole process very dangerously opaque for public. This will legalize corruption in form of political lobbying.
Another amendment gives unlimited powers to income tax officers. They can raid your property, house whenever they want, without giving explanation. This sets a dangerous precedent for the future of country’s people by giving the government almost authoritarian power.


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