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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.

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U.S.A: Myanmar’s Military Campaign Against Rohingya Muslims a ‘Mass Genocide’

Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

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Rohingya
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wade past a waterlogged path leading to the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh. VOA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar’s military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.

A United Nations report released in August said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent” and also definitively called for Myanmar officials to face genocide charges for the first time.

Rohingya Growing

Myanmar’s military has denied previous accusations it had committed genocide, maintaining its actions were part of an anti-terrorism campaign.

Rohingya, Violence
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The atrocities have prompted the U.N. and a number of political and human rights leaders to question the southeast Asian country’s progress toward democracy.

The Burma Task Force, a coalition of U.S. and Canadian Muslim organizations, applauded the genocide designation.

“The House of Representatives has now officially adopted the position that the ongoing policies of mass violence and displacement against the Rohingya by the Myanmar government constitute genocide, bringing the U.S. closer to the emerging international consensus on the issue.

The U.S. State Department usually makes such official designations but has not used the term genocide to describe the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya.

Rohingya, myanmar, violence,asylum
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The House resolution also called on the Myanmar government to release Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed one year ago.

Also Read: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Under Fire For Myanmar Tweets

They were sentenced in September to seven years in prison for violating the country’s colonial-era Secrets Act. Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

The Myanmar embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on the House vote. (VOA)