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Survey Finds Pervasive Corruption Hindering Poverty alleviation and harming Public Health in Asia

bribery and other forms of corruption are hindering poverty alleviation and hurting public health in Asia

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes during a protest march named as "Akrosh Diwas" against the government's decision to withdraw high denomination notes from circulation in front of Reserve Bank of India in Hyderabad, India, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, in his Nov. 8 televised address, announced the demonetization of India's 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, which made up 86 percent of the country's currency. He said it would wipe out rampant corruption, though in a country of 1.3 billion where most people don't have bank accounts, it also wiped out legally collected savings. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
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March 7, 2017: A survey by the anti-graft group Transparency International shows that bribery and other forms of corruption are hindering poverty alleviation and hurting public health in Asia by channeling resources away from those who need them.

The survey, released Tuesday, estimated that more than 900 million people in the region had paid bribes in the past year to obtain basic public services like schooling and health care.

Nearly seven in 10 Indians surveyed had paid such bribes. The heavy reliance of cash payments in corruption was a major factor driving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in October to scrap as legal tender the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that made up 86 percent of the country’s currency.

While the rate of corruption was much lower in many countries, such practices were found even in relatively law-abiding nations like Japan, where many surveyed said they believed the government was doing a poor job of preventing corruption.

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Only one in five of the 21,861 people surveyed in 16 countries or territories said they believed corruption had declined, while about 40 percent believed it was increasing.

FILE - A visitor, top, looks at an electronic screen displaying images and convicted corruption charges of China's fallen politicians, Bo Xilai, bottom second right, Zhou Yongkang, bottom left, and other senior officials, at the China Court Museum in Beijing.
FILE – A visitor, top, looks at an electronic screen displaying images and convicted corruption charges of China’s fallen politicians, Bo Xilai, bottom second right, Zhou Yongkang, bottom left, and other senior officials, at the China Court Museum in Beijing. VOA

Nearly three-quarters of all Chinese said they believed corruption had grown worse recently, despite the ruling Communist Party’s perennial anti-graft campaigns. The issue remains a problem even in Hong Kong, which has a reputation for clean governance, and where a former leader of the city, Donald Tsang, was sentenced recently to 20 months in prison for misconduct.

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A similar proportion of South Koreans also took a dim view of their government’s handling of graft _ possibly reflecting widespread anger over an influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye and the indictment of Samsung’s de facto chief, Lee Jae-yong, on bribery charges.

Across the region, nearly a third of those surveyed had paid a bribe to a police officer in the previous year, while 22 percent had made such payments for schooling, and 18 percent paid them to access a public hospital.

Berlin-based Transparency International said it conducted the survey of randomly selected people between July 2015 and January 2017.

The group urged government leaders to deliver on promises to substantially reduce bribery and corruption by 2030 made as part of their commitments to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

That requires increasing transparency of government operations and adopting a “zero-tolerance” policy, including in police forces viewed as widely corrupt, it said. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)