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Good governance: India ranks number 1 in government transparency in South Asia

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

India ranks 37 out of 102 countries on the Open Government Index 2015, which ranks countries on how transparent their governments are and the ease with which citizens can hold their government accountable.

The report, released on March 26 by Washington-based World Justice Project, is a perception survey on a random sample in three cities in each country, and has also interviewed experts in the field of transparency. In India, the survey was carried out in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Of the four parameters used to rank countries, India ranked 27 for publicized laws and government data. But it ranked 66 on Right to Information index.

Those that topped the list were high income countries such as Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and Netherlands. “Richer countries rank higher as they have more resources and more people connected to the internet. But on removing high-income countries from the list, the correlation between a country’s per capita gross domestic product and its rank on the Open Government Index disappears,” says Juan Carlos Botero, one of the authors of the report, said.

This is evident when one compares India with China. While China is on the list of upper middle income countries and India is on the list of lower middle income countries, India outperforms China by 50 ranks when it comes to transparency in governance, with China ranking 87 on the list.

The WJP Open government index uses four dimensions to measure government openness. Publicized laws and government data, right to information, civic participation and complaint mechanisms.

Among the other leading emerging market countries, Russia was ranked at the 67th position and China was placed further down at 87th place.

Moreover, India (37th rank globally) also topped the regional ranking among South Asian countries, followed by Nepal (40th rank), Sri Lanka (52), Bangladesh (73), Pakistan (83) and Afghanistan (89).

In terms of publicised laws and government data, India was assigned a score of 0.54 and was placed at the 27th position globally. In terms of right to information (0.50, 66 rank), civic participation (0.65, 39th rank) and complaint mechanisms (0.58, 43 rank).
The top three overall performers in WJP Open Government Index 2015 are Sweden (1st rank), New Zealand (2nd), and Norway (3rd), while the bottom three are Myanmar (100), Uzbekistan (101), and Zimbabwe (102).

Incidentally, United Kingdom was ranked 8th on the list, while the United States was placed in the 11th place.

The WJP Open Government Index 2015 is produced by the World Justice Project, an independent, multidisciplinary organisation working to advance the rule of law around the world.

Next Story

Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)