Everyone knows that corruption is rampant in India, but the scale of it is staggering. An annual survey shows Indians have to spend more than US$5.5 billion (HK$43 billion) every year on bribes. The voluntary group Transparency International India, which tracks corruption worldwide, looked at bribes paid in 10 sectors. They ranged from health to power and covered 16 Indian states and more than 5,000 urban and rural households. The majority of Indians would probably say the most corrupt public service is the police, but the real villains are doctors, according to Transparency International. In the survey, Corruption in India: An Empirical Study, doctors emerged in a bad light with Indians having to pay US$1.5 billion in bribes compared with US$360 million paid to the police. Every 10th Indian pays about US$12 a year in dealing with the health sector. Doctors demand the bulk of the money (about 77 per cent) with hospital staff and nurses taking the rest. Patients pay bribes for proper healthcare, medicines and for attention from nurses. In Bihar, where corruption means that x-ray machines in government hospitals do not work and even cotton wool is missing, patients have to pay bribes for the most rudimentary facilities. Next on the list are officials in the power sector. Bribes are routine for getting a power supply, having a meter installed, checked or read, and getting electricity restored after a power cut. A newspaper quoted people in the northeastern state of Assam as saying that power officials demanded money merely to accept payment of electricity bills. Education ranked third. Transparency International said parents had to pay bribes to get their children admitted to schools. In a strange regional variation, the survey revealed that bribes for school places were much more common in southern India than in the north. In earlier studies, Transparency International ranked India as among the 30 most corrupt nations in the world. In this survey, it examined bribery in 10 sectors - education, police, health, land administration, the judiciary, power, taxation, telecommunications, the public distribution system and railways. Railways and telecoms emerged as the least corrupt. 'A key form of corruption is having to pay money to court officials,' the survey said. With the police, Indians have to give bribes for filing a complaint or getting officers to verify their address when they apply for a passport. Bribes are also given to avoid false arrests. Citizens are also shown up in the survey. They pay bribes to avoid arrest or to get false accusations lodged against innocent people.