India has slipped to 87th spot in latest ranking of nations based on the level of corruption, with the global watchdog asserting that perceptions about corruption in the country increased in the wake of the scam-tainted Commonwealth Games. However, Iraq and Afghanistan came near the top of a closely watched global list of countries perceived to be the most corrupt, despite efforts to stamp out graft in the war-torn nations.
Nearly three-quarters of the 178 countries in Transparency International's annual survey scored on the sleazier end of the scale, which ranges from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (thought to have little corruption).
'Corruption Perception Index' report covering the public sector in 178 countries shows that India fell by three positions from its ranking of 84th in 2009.
With an integrity score of 3.3, India is now ranked 87th in the world in terms of corruption. Neighbouring China is ahead of India in the list at 78th place, with a score of 3.5. It was at 79th position in 2009.
According to the report: "The perception about corruption in India seems to have increased primarily due to alleged corrupt practices in the recently held Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Delhi."
As many as four investigating agencies -- the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) -- are looking into allegations of corruption against the organisers of the CWG, which concluded here earlier this month.
The top three countries with the lowest level of corruption globally, as ranked by Transparency International, are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.
Denmark was ranked first in the report, with an integrity score of 9.3, while New Zealand and Singapore came second and third with a similar score.
Bhutan was the best performer in the South Asian region and was ranked 37th, with an integrity score of 5.7.
However, other SAARC nations are ranked below India.Pakistan is ranked at 143th in the list, with an integrity score of 2.3, while Bangladesh is at 134th, with a score of 2.4. Sri Lanka was ranked 91st in the list, with an integrity score of 3.2, while Nepal was 146th (2.3) and Maldives joined Pakistan at 143th place (2.3).
Afghanistan, the newest SAARC member, was ranked 176th in the list with an integrity score of 1.4.
Iraq was fourth from top of the most corrupt ranking, Myanmar shared second place with Afghanistan and lawless Somalia was considered the world's most corrupt country, with a score of 1.1.
At the other end of the scale, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore were seen as the nations least blighted by corruption, scoring 9.3 points.They were followed by Finland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands.
Certain countries were singled out for an improvement in their fight against graft, notably Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Kuwait and Qatar.
Criticised for going the other way, however, were the United States, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar and Niger.The United States was 22nd on the list, while Greece and Italy came in at 78th and 67th respectively. China was level with Greece.