Ranging from Re one to Rs 950, rural households in the country could have paid a whopping Rs 471.8 crore last year as bribe to avail basic facilities such as ration, health, education and water supply, says a study.
The ''India Corruption Study: 2010'' report prepared by Centre for Media Studies (CMS), a survey of 9,960 households in 12 states, says on an average a rural household could have paid Rs 164 as bribe for availing these facilities in a year.
The study said the total amount of Rs 471.8 crore is "equal or less" than the total expenditure made under MNREGA during 2010-11 in states like Assam, Gujarat, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.
"The estimation of bribe amount paid by the rural households brings out an amount of Rs 471.8 crore...The percentage of rural households that paid bribe during the last year was relatively higher in PDS (11.5
per cent), followed by hospitals (9), schools (5.8), water (4.3)," the study said.
It claimed that the socio-economically weaker sections were most affected by corrupt practices in public services.
More than 40 per cent of rural households belonging to OBC and SCs felt that the level of corruption has increased in public services during the last one year while 28 per cent each opined that the level of corruption has remained the same, it said.
An analysis by income level indicated that three out of four rural households which had to pay bribe in any of the public services have monthly household income of Rs 5,000 or less, indicating the high dependence of the economically poor households on these public services.
"As reported by rural households, they had to pay even Rs one-two to get a family member examined as an out-patient, mostly to get the registration or OPD card and as high as Rs 900 to avail diagnostic services such as X-ray, blood or urine tests at a public health facility," the study said.
A rural household had to pay Rs five as bribe to get an application form for ration card while they had to pay as high as Rs 800 for getting a BPL card without documents, it said, adding, for getting admission form, rural households had to shell out Rs ten as bribe while some paid Rs 700-800 to get scholarship or admission in schools.
"For proper water supply, the bribe paid by households for various services ranged between Rs 15 and Rs 950. The wide gap between minimum and maximum amount paid as bribe for the same purpose indicate that even submission of a request requires paying bribe apart from paying bribe to get water at the right time to irrigate the agricultural field," it said.
The study said Rs 156.8 crore might have been given as bribe in PDS while for water supply services, rural households could have paid Rs 83.3 crore. Another Rs 130 crore have been paid to avail hospital services.