India - 9-CorruptionIndia - Corruption
India is a signatory to the United Nation’s Conventions Against Corruption and is a member of the G20 Working Group against corruption. India ranks 79 out of 176 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index, and was ranked 76 out of 168 in 2015.
Corruption is addressed by the following laws: the Companies Act, 2013; the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002; the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; the Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973; the Indian Contract Act, 1872; and the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Anti-corruption laws amended since 2004 have granted additional powers to vigilance departments in government ministries at the central and state levels. The amendments also elevated the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to being a statutory body. In addition, the Comptroller and Auditor General is charged with performing audits on public-private-partnership contracts in the infrastructure sector on the basis of allegations of revenue loss to the exchequer.
In November 2016, the Modi government ordered INR 1000 and 500 notes, comprising approximately 86% of cash in circulation, be demonetized to curb “black money,” corruption, and the financing of terrorism.
The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act of 2016 entered into effect in November 2016, and strengthened the legal and administrative procedures of the Benami Transactions Act 1988, which was ultimately never notified. (Note: A benami property is held by one person, but paid for by another, often with illicit funds.) Analysts expect the government to issue a roadmap in 2017-2018 to begin implementing the Act.
In November 2016 India and Switzerland signed a joint declaration to enter into an Agreement on the Exchange of Information (AEOI) to automatically share financial information on accounts held by Indian residents, beginning in 2018. India also amended its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Singapore, Cyprus, and Mauritius in 2016 to prevent income tax evasion. The move follows the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, which replaced the Income Tax (IT) Act of 1961 regarding the taxation of foreign income. The new Act penalizes the concealment of foreign income, as well as provides criminal liability for foreign income tax evasion.
In February 2014, the government enacted the Whistleblower Act, intended to protect anti-corruption activists, but it has yet to be implemented. Experts believe that the prosecution of corruption has been effective only among the lower levels of the bureaucracy; senior bureaucrats have generally been spared. Businesses consistently cite corruption as a significant obstacle to FDI in India and identify government procurement as a process particularly vulnerable to corruption. To make the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014 more effective, the government proposed an amendment bill in 2015. This bill is still pending with the Upper House of Parliament; however anti-corruption activists have expressed concern that the bill will dilute the Act by creating exemptions for state authorities, allowing them to stay out of reach of whistleblowers.
The Companies Act of 2013 established rules related to corruption in the private sector by mandating mechanisms for the protection of whistle blowers, industry codes of conduct, and the appointment of independent directors to company boards. As yet, the government has established no monitoring mechanism, and it is unclear the extent to which these protections have been instituted. No legislation focuses particularly on the protection of NGOs working on corruption issues, though the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011, may afford some protection once it has been fully implemented.
In 2013, Parliament enacted the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, which created a national anti-corruption ombudsman and requires states to create state-level ombudsmen within one year of the law’s passage. The government has yet to implement the law, however, and as of yet, no ombudsmen have been appointed.
UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery
India is a signatory to the United Nations Conventions against Corruption and is a member of the G20 Working Group against Corruption.
India is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Resources to Report Corruption
Economic Growth Unit Chief
U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
+91 11 2419 8000
Ashutosh Kumar Mishra
Transparency International, India
Lajpat Bhawan, Room no.4
Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi - 110024
+91 11 2646 0826
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