Global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, has released the latest Corruption Perception Index for 2016. India has marginally improved its ranking while New Zealand and Denmark are jointly ranked as the world's least corrupt nations.
The Berlin-based anti-graft organisation has used World Bank data, the World Economic Forum and other institutions to rank 176 countries by perceived levels of corruption in public sector.
The score runs from zero, which is highly corrupt, to 100, which is very clean. India, China and Brazil with a score of 40 each figured in the 10 key economies in the mid-range.
India's score has improved by two points as in 2015 the country had scored 38.
- The latest rankings put New Zealand and Denmark in joint first place with a score of 90, followed by Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands and Canada.
- At the bottom of the index, Somalia was ranked the most corrupt country.
- Other countries with lower rankings - which typically point to badly performing public institutions, bribery or corruption - were Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
- No country got close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.
Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this years index fall below the midpoint of the scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector.
"India's ongoing poor performance with a score of 40 reiterates the state's inability to effectively deal with petty corruption as well as large-scale corruption scandals. The impact of corruption on poverty, illiteracy and police brutality shows that not only the economy is growing but also inequality," the anti-graft body said.
The majority of Asia Pacific countries sit in the bottom half of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. 19 out of 30 countries in the region scored 40 or less out of 100, it said.
"Poor performance can be attributed to unaccountable governments, lack of oversight, insecurity and shrinking space for civil society, pushing anti-corruption action to the margins in those countries. High-profile corruption scandals, in addition to everyday corruption issues, continue to undermine public trust in government, the benefits of democracy and the rule of law," the organisation.