August 19, 2018

Experts deliberate on poll funding

Patna: Political funding and transparency in India, vis-à-vis the electoral bond scheme, came in for discussion at a seminar at the Bihar Industries Association in Patna on Wednesday.

Experts said the electoral bond scheme loses its essence when donors remain anonymous with the worrisome possibility that it may lead to increase in foreign funding, upsetting the goal to cleanse the system of political funding in India. They also highlighted other flaws in the electoral transparency pill announced by the Centre in the Union Budget 2017-18.

“The amendments made to Section 29 C of Representation of People’s Act, 1951, which makes it no longer necessary to report details of political funding through electoral bonds, is a kind of step which seeks to achieve anonymity and transparency at the same time,” said Prof Jagdeep S. Chhokar, founder member of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). “This is quite divergent with the views of most people in the country. The decline in the limits of cash funding from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 have been counterproductive, influencing political parties to seek more and more funds in cash form.”

Responding to questions on how to make political parties accountable to the public, Chhokar said: “The bid for transparency in political parties, political funding and fixing their accountability would never be easy, but we oppose the move and fight for it.” Experts such as D.M. Diwakar, former director of A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies in Patna, Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh of the Patna High Court, and former journalist Arun Kumar Pandey too put across their points on how to fix political party’s accountability towards residents.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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