Transparency International is the global movement against corruption that ranks countries based on the perceived level of public sector corruption.
Listed as an orange colored country, where citizens are perceived to face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis, Sri Lanka has recorded a poor score of 36 this time around.
India was ranked as the least corrupt country in the South Asian region with a score of 40 and was ranked at 79 in the overall index. Following India, Sri Lanka and Maldives were jointly ranked at 95.
Denmark together with New Zealand succeeded in topping the list among the least corrupt countries with a nearly very clean score of 90 followed by Finland, Sweden and Switzerland ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.
The ranks are based on a scoring system ranging from 0 where public sector is perceived as highly corrupt to 100 where public sector is perceived as very clean.
This year’s results highlight the connection between corruption and inequality, which tend to feed off each other ending up creating a vicious cycle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.
According to Transparency International, the lower ranked in their index are plagued by untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions such as the police and judiciary.
Even where anti-corruption laws are on the books, in practice they're often skirted or ignored.
People frequently face situations of bribery and extortion, rely on basic services that have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take.
Higher-ranked countries are known to provide higher degrees of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent judicial systems.
Yet, these high-scoring countries cannot afford to be complacent, either.
While the most obvious forms of corruption may not scar citizens' daily lives in all these places, the higher-ranked countries are not immune to closed-door deals, conflicts of interest, illicit finance, and patchy law enforcement that can distort public policy and exacerbate corruption at home and abroad, Transparency International further noted.