New Delhi, Feb 22 : Slipping two ranks since the previous year, India ranked 81st in 2017 among the 180 nations surveyed for the level of corruption, according to global anti-graft watchdog Transparency International (TI)'s corruption perceptions index.
India slipped two ranks in the index since 2016 and five ranks since 2015 -- when it was placed 76th on the index, released on Wednesday.
"Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect.
These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths," said Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation publishing the index for countries since 1995.
"The analysis, which incorporates data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that in the last six years, more than nine out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index," it said.
At 81, India shared the same rank and points (40) as were secured by Ghana, Morocco and Turkey.
The body ranks countries on a scale of 0-100, where 0 represents highly corrupt and 100 very clean.
To construct the index for this year, it collated datasets (surveys, ratings) from 13 sources.
"This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88, respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9, respectively.
"The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66.
The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34)," the global corruption watchdog said.
Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong are the only Asian countries -- discounting Australia and New Zealand-- which figured in the top 20 nations on the index.
In a comment which appeared in the NGO's website, an official of the body condemned violence against journalists as one of the flagrant indicators of the corruption level in a country and called for a condemnation of such acts.
"No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption.
Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up," Patricia Moreira, Managing Director, Transparency International, said.
Reducing impunity for the corrupt, encouragement to free speech, political dissent and improving space for civil society to speak out, are some of the measures suggested by the international body as ways to stem the corrupting elements.