Property registration and land issues were the biggest sectors of corruption, with more than a quarter of respondents having paid bribes to the relevant local departments. The police force was next; 19% of respondents said they had paid most of their bribes to police in the past year.
People also paid bribes to the tax department, transport office, municipal corporations, and other local authorities, the report found.
The Indian government has tried to crack down on bribery and corruption, amending an anti-corruption bill last year and setting up watchdog institutions. Under the amended bill, bribery is punishable by up to seven years in prison or a fine, or both, the report said.
The new deterrents and measures are “starting to show some effects,” the report said — but that change has not trickled down to the local level. Only 6% of people said that their state or local governments had taken steps to reduce corruption, and many reported that nothing had changed at all.
But the demonetization measure devastated small businesses and destabilized what remains primarily a cash-based economy. Modi’s plan ultimately failed “because through corrupt practices the ill-gotten money was legitimized ultimately, having a crippling effect on the Indian economy,” according to the TII report.
All the while, watchdog agencies are “failing to fulfill their respective roles” and have a public reputation for “inefficiency and manipulation in the commission,” the report said. It called for greater “political willingness on the part of the government,” suggesting that efforts against corruption had been blocked by “partisan politics.”