Ahmedabad: India placed 81st out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 released on Wednesday by Transparency International—with the ranking and score unchanged from the previous year and the country described, along with Philippines and the Maldives, as “among the worst regional offenders in this respect.”

Under the head “Slow, imperfect progress across Asia Pacific,” Transparency International said “the results from the 2017 index also show that corruption in many countries is still strong. Often, when individuals dare to challenge the status quo, they suffer the consequences. In some countries across the region, journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered,” warning that “these countries (India, Philippines and the Maldives) score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths.”

New Zealand topped the ranking with a score of 89, followed by Denmark (88), Finland, Norway and Switzerland (all 85). The countries were given a score between 0 and 100, where 100 meant very clean and 0 reflected a deep-rooted, systemic corruption problem. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia were ranked at the bottom with scores of 14, 12 and 9, respectively. More than two-thirds of the countries on the 2017 index had a score below 50, which Transparency International described as “compared to recent years, this poor performance is nothing new.”

Among the other countries in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka was ranked 91st with a score of 38, Pakistan (117th, 32), Nepal (122nd, 31) and Bangladesh (143rd, 28).