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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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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google to charge $40 per device to Android makers. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?