About I Paid A Bribe

I Paid a Bribe (IPAB) is an online initiative started by Janaagraha that focuses on Retail Corruption. It is the largest online crowd-sourced anti-corruption platform in the world today. IPAB uses a crowd-sourcing model to collect bribe reports, and to build a repository of corruption-related data across government departments. Most importantly, it empowers citizens, governments, and advocacy organizations to tackle retail corruption both within India and increasingly throughout the world.

As of June 2017, IPAB has partnered with 30 other countries to create replica IPAB sites and begin an international Crowdsourcing Against Corruption Coalition.

IPAB works to:

  • To understand retail corruption by capturing data through crowd-sourcing
  • To analyse the geography and institutional breeding grounds for corruption.
  • To expose retail corruption. When people report, their experiences increase the perception of risk and decrease corrupt behavior
  • To create a network of support – where people use the platform to share individual experiences – to understand the extent of corruption, how to avoid paying a bribe, what documents are needed, what is the process, and so on.

And finally, to use the data to analyze trends, decipher work flows and advocate for changes of business processes within departments, to gradually eliminate opportunities for retail corruption altogether.


Since its launch on 15 August 2010, I Paid A Bribe (IPAB) has received around 15 million visits, recorded over 1,40,000 bribe reports amounting to over Rs 2800 crores from more than 1000 cities and towns in India. It has also been scaled to 30 countries, with 3 more in the process of launching their own IPAB sites. Over time as more and more individuals began using IPAB to document corruption and connect with other citizens facing similar issues, IPAB has received critical acclaim and recognition from institutions such as the New York Times, the BBC, The Hindu, the Economic Times, India Today, and Google. Today IPAB has transformed into a globally-recognized innovation in the fight against ‘retail’ corruption.


Process re-engineering – The Traffic Commission, Bangalore

The Traffic Commissioner of Bangalore communicated his embarrassment at finding his department having the highest instances of bribe taking in Bangalore. I Paid a Bribe worked with him and his senior management team to re-engineer the process flow and reduce the loopholes for rent seeking in the issuance of drivers’ licenses, so that 2 key steps that in the past had a fair amount of subjective discretion in them, were converted to automated tests.

Process re-engineering – Registration Department, Bangalore

The department for land registration used to have designated offices where one had to go to register the purchase and sale of land – depending on where in the city the particular land parcel was, one had to go to a specific Sub Registrar’s Office. With the ipaidabribe.com data, it was evident that there was a flourishing market for bribes in land transactions, reflecting admirably the laws of supply and demand!

Those Sub Registrar offices that were on the periphery of the city, where much of the new growth occurs, were seeing the greatest rates of bribes, whereas those Sub Registrar Offices which were in the heart of the city, where land transactions are less frequent, were seeing fewer touts and lower rates. I Paid a Bribe made a proposal to the Department of Stamps and Registration – given that all land transactions had been converted to electronic records, to make them ‘Anywhere Registration’. That is, one could go to any Sub Registrar office in the city to register one’s land transaction. This has since taken effect.

Process re-engineering – Passport Department, Bangalore

This report brought out on April 25, 2016 calls for doing away with the existing practice of police verification during the issuance of passports. The report has been prepared by Dr. S.T. Ramesh, former Director General & Inspector General of Police, and Karnataka. It was officially released by Justice N. Santosh Hegde.

The report suggests that police verification is painstaking and breeds corruption. It adds that scrapping this practice will not only reduce the corruption in the Police Department, but also make the process of obtaining a passport more seamless.

Poster Lagao, Corruption Hatao Campaign

Seeing these ideas taking root, the Chief Secretary of the State of Karnataka– the highest ranking bureaucrat – has since sought our support to do more. In March 2012, I Paid a Bribe posters were put up in key government departments all over the city of Bangalore, asking people to send a text message to a designated number if they had to pay a bribe for a government service, or if they didn’t have to pay a bribe. Unfortunately the government offices were putting up the posters at a height of 15 feet, barely visible to the common man!

Move from Anonymous Reporting of Bribes to Non-Anonymous Reporting

Ipaidabribe.com introduced an updated Privacy Policy starting February 2013. Through this policy, users can now choose to stay anonymous or share their name when submitting a report. I Paid a Bribe stopped redacting names of officers and departments in reports, in an effort to make the platform an even more transparent, and to push for more accountability in the public sector.

Launch of platform Maine Rishwat Di (IPAB – Hindi)

In August 2013, Janaagraha launched Hindi version of I Paid A Bribe – Maine Rishwat Di (www.mainerishwatdi.com) to reach out to the Hindi speaking market which is 48% of the national population as per census 2011

Launch of Mobile and SMS services

In August 2013, Janaagraha launched mobile and SMS services for I Paid A Bribe. People can download the mobile apps from http://www.ipaidabribe.com/mobile or access the website via m.ipaidabribe.com from their mobile devices.
Citizens can also share their bribe experiences by messaging IPAB to 56363


Two ombudsmen, Dr. Malati Das IAS, Former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka and Dr. S T Ramesh IPS, Former DG & IG, Government of Karnataka; have been appointed to investigate instances of corruption, based on bribe data sourced from Janaagraha’s website www.ipaidabribe.com. The two-member ombudsman team aims to create tangible positive impact on retail or petty corruption in Karnataka by engaging with Government departments as well as heightening citizen awareness about the need to fight bribery.

Impact Story: Custom official being put under temporary suspension

Manik Taneja belongs to a special group, one that willingly admits their mistakes and looks at ways to right their wrongs. On a trip to US, Taneja bought a Kayak worth Rs 60,000. However, at the Customs, he was forced to pay a hefty bribe. A tired Manik tried arguing, but ended up paying the bribe. Unwilling to keep quiet, Manik chose to fight his case. His story on Ipaidabribe, and his cooperation with Custom officials, saw the official being put under temporary suspension.

Impact Stories: Blacklisting of Aadhaar Card Operators

Shubham Khandelwal, from Chennai, posted his complaint against an Aadhaar Card operator, on IPaidaBribe.com. IPAB forwarded this complaint to the UIDAI leading to the operator being blacklisted. Similarly, complaints from Deepangshu Garg from Pune and Madhukar BV and G Reddappa Reddy were forwarded to the UIDAI who got the Aadhar Officials blacklisted in each case.


Since its launch, Ipaidabribe.com has won many international accolades and visibility for innovation and implementation. Harvard Business School, London School of Economics and Stanford University have done case studies and cited the initiative in their curriculum.

I Paid a Bribe – International

Individuals and civil society initiatives from 30 countries have got in touch with I Paid a Bribe to start their own chapters of ipaidabribe.com in their countries. I Paid a Bribe has set up an open-source platform to share the source code, once the partner signs a fairly straightforward charter and MoU. IPAB is currently live in 22 countries.