Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

The Corruption Perceptions Index is released by Transparency International annually. The latest edition is the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 which was released in January 2022. The index includes the ranks of the 180 countries or territories based on the perceived levels of public sector corruption. The findings of international indices are important for the IAS Exam preparation.

Corruption Perceptions Index – Why in the news?

  • According to Corruption Perception Index 2021, India’s rank improved by one place to 85 in 2021 from 86th in 2020.
  • Pakistan dropped 16 spots in this year index and was ranked at 140.
  • In this year’s index, countries like Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and Norway topped the list with the highest score.

Corruption Perception Index – Facts for UPSC Prelims

Released by? Transparency International
When is it released? It is annually released (once a year.)
When was the Corruption Perceptions Index released for the first time? 1995
Definition of Corruption by CPI The misuse of public power for private benefit
How many countries are ranked? 180 countries
How is corruption evaluated? Transparency International undertakes multiple surveys and assessments from different international organizations including the World Bank
IAS Exam aspirants should know the UPSC Eligibility Criteria in detail. Also, one can complement their preparation with the help of the following links:

Ranks in Corruption Perception Index 2021

Two years into the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) reveals that corruption levels have stagnated worldwide. 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption over the last decade, and this year 27 countries are at historic lows in their CPI score. Meanwhile, human rights and democracy across the world are under assault. The CPI uses a scale from 0 to 100. 100 is very clean and 0 is highly corrupt.

Highlights of CPI 2021

  • The results of this year’s CPI show that countries with well-protected civil and political liberties generally control corruption better. The fundamental freedoms of association and expression are crucial in the fight for a world free of corruption.
  • More than two-thirds of countries (68 per cent) score below 50 and the average global score remains static at 43.
  • Meanwhile, the scores of several democracies that used to top the index and champion anti-corruption efforts around the world are deteriorating. Many of these high-scoring countries remain safe havens for corrupt individuals from abroad.
  • Overall, the CPI shows that control of corruption has stagnated or worsened in 86 per cent of countries over the last decade.

The top performers in CPI 2021 –

  • This year, the top countries are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 88.
  • Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany complete the top 10.

Least Scorer in CPI 2021 – 

  • South Sudan, Syria and Somalia remain at the bottom of the index.
  • Countries experiencing armed conflict or authoritarianism tend to earn the lowest scores, including Venezuela, Yemen, North Korea, Afghanistan, Libya, Equatorial Guinea and Turkmenistan.


Corruption may be a multifaceted problem, but it is one we know how to solve. To end the vicious cycle of corruption, human rights violations and democratic decline, people should demand that their governments:

  • Uphold the rights needed to hold power to account
  • Restore and strengthen institutional checks on power
  • Combat Transnational corruption
  • Uphold the right to information in government spending

Ranks in Corruption Perception Index 2020

Corruption Perception Index 2020 released by Transparency International. India’s rank has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries in Corruption Perception Index 2020.

The top performers in CPI 2020 –

  • The top countries on the Corruption Perception Index 2020 are Denmark and New Zealand, with scores of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, with scores of 85 each.

Least Scorer in CPI 2020 – 

  • South Sudan and Somalia are the bottom Countries with scores of 12 each, followed by Syria (14), Yemen (15), and Venezuela (15).

India’s Performace in Corruption Perception Index 2020 CPI

  • India experienced slow progress in anti-corruption efforts, with several government commitments to reform not yet materializing effectively.
  • India’s Rank in CPI 2020 is 86th and it scored 40 (41 in 2019).

Region Specific performance in CPI 2020

  • The lowest scoring regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (36).
  • The highest-scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union with an average score of 66.

List of countries that ranked at the top of Corruption Perception Index 2020 – 

  • New Zealand
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Netherlands
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany

The bottom 10 countries which scored the least as per the corruption perceptions index and are perceived to be the most corrupt countries are:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo ( Rank – 170)
  2. North Korea ( Rank – 170)
  3. Libya (Rank – 173)
  4. Equatorial Guinea (Rank – 174)
  5. Sudan (Rank – 174)
  6. Venezuela (Rank – 176)
  7. Yemen (Rank – 176)
  8. Syria (Rank – 178)
  9. South Sudan (Rank – 179)
  10. Somalia (Rank – 179)

Corruption Perception Index 2020 paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide. While most countries have made little to no progress in tackling corruption in nearly a decade, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of just 43.

  1. The corruption not only undermines the global health response to Covid-19 but contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy. Also, read about Mission Covid Suraksha on the given link.
  2. Higher levels of corruption are associated with lower universal health care coverage and higher rates of infant and maternal mortality and deaths from cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Further details on the Maternal mortality rate can be found on the linked page.
  3. Corruption is one of the key barriers to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Goals and the covid-19 pandemic is making those goals even more difficult to attain. Read in detail about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the linked page

Ranks in Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 was released at the World Economic Forum 2020. India’s rank in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 is 80 among 180 countries. It scored 41 out of 100.

The countries are scored between 0 (Most Corrupt country in the world) and 100 (Least Corrupt Nation in the world). As per the recent index, the facts are as follows:

  1. Most Corrupt Country – Somalia (It Scored 9 out 100; and ranked at the bottom – 180)
  2. Least Corrupt Country – Denmark (It scored 87 out 100; and ranked at the top – 1)

The list of the countries that ranked at the top of Corruption Perceptions Index 2019:

  1. Denmark
  2. New Zealand
  3. Finland
  4. Singapore
  5. Sweden
  6. Switzerland
  7. Norway
  8. Netherlands
  9. Germany
  10. Luxembourg

The bottom 10 countries which scored the least as per the corruption perceptions index and are perceived to be the most corrupt countries are:

  1. Libya (Rank – 168)
  2. North Korea ( Rank – 172)
  3. Afghanistan (Rank – 173)
  4. Equatorial Guinea (Rank – 173)
  5. Sudan (Rank – 173)
  6. Venezuela (Rank – 173)
  7. Yemen (Rank – 177)
  8. Syria (Rank – 178)
  9. South Sudan (Rank – 179)
  10. Somalia (Rank – 180)

Ranks of some vibrant Economic Powers in Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

  1. China – 41
  2. Indonesia – 40
  3. Vietnam – 37
  4. Philippines – 34
  5. USA – 23
  6. United Kingdom – 12
  7. Japan – 20

Also, get the list of international organizations’ reports from the linked article.

Key Findings of Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

  1. Little to no improvement in tackling corruption:
    1. Since the last eight years, Only 22 countries have shown significant improvement in their scores under CPI.
    2. Greece, Guyana and Estonia are among the countries that improved their performance.
    3. Canada, Australia and Nicaragua are among the countries to face a slip in their scores.
    4. Around 137 countries showed little to no improvement.
  2. As per the CPI 2019, More corruption is seen in the countries “where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.”
  3. Two out three countries scored below 50 out of 100.
  4. 43 is the average score.
  5. The major recommendations to tackle corruption are:
    1. Managing conflicts of interests
    2. Controlling political financing
    3. Strengthening electoral integrity
    4. Regulating lobbying activities
    5. Tackling preferential treatments
    6. Empowering citizens
    7. Reinforcing checks and balances

Also, get India’s ranks in other global indices from below:

India’s Rankings in Corruption Perceptions Index [Year-Wise]

The performance of India in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the years is tabled below:

Global Corruption Perceptions Index – India’s Rankings
Year India’s Rank
2019 80
2018 78
2017 81
2016 79
2015 76
2014 85
2013 94
2012 94
2011 93
2010 87

Read about Global Indices and India’s Rankings in the linked article.

Corruption Perception Index (CPI) – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Candidates preparing for the upcoming Civil Services Exam can visit the UPSC Syllabus page and get the comprehensive syllabus for various subjects and the detailed exam pattern.

For any further exam updates, latest information, study material and preparation notes, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for assistance.

Other Related Links
Comprehensive News Analysis List of Government Schemes in India
Central Vigilance Commission RSTV – The Big Picture: The Corruption In Higher Judiciary
Black Money [UPSC Notes for Indian Economy] IAS Officers Who Fought against Corruption

Frequently Asked Questions for Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)


Q 1. What is the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?

Ans. It is an annually published index by Berlin-based Transparency International. The index has been releasing since 1995 which ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

Q 2. What is India’s rank as per the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?

Ans. As per the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which was released in January 2022, India has ranked 85th out of the 180 countries which were included in the index.

Q 3. How are the countries ranked under CPI?

Ans. A total of 180 countries are ranked under CPI. Countries are ranked on a scale between o to 100, where 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being the least corrupt. It has been observed that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.

Q 4. What Do Corruption Indices Measure?

Ans. Corruption indices are used to measure the level of corruption in a country based on surveys and assessments done by experts.

Q 5. What are the ways to reduce corruption in a country, as stated by Transparency International?

Ans. Transparency International has released multiple methods to reduce corruption in a country:

  • Control political financing
  • Empowering citizens
  • Reinforce checks and balances
  • Regulate lobbying activities
  • Avoiding the practise of preferential treatment


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