Throwing light into the issues of election funding in India, Chief Election Commissioner Nazim Saidi has said that the whole process is loosely governed under the law and under the absence of adequate rules around 80% of the funds escape scrutiny. He was addressing a global conference on the influence of money in politics. He said it is high time for bringing in electoral reforms moved by Election Commission and Law Commission which shall necessitate the enactment of better laws to regulate money usage by political parties for election.
”We urge all political parties to take lead to lay down regulatory regime for themselves. This will set good example before people and strengthen democracy. This is a challenge that EC alone cannot handle without involvement of political parties and all stakeholders”, Mr. Saidi said.
The CEC opinioned that the political parties can raise any amount of resources excluding contribution from government company and foreign donations and they can spend any amount of money during election campaign in a constituency if it is related to general the party propaganda.
At present the only legal requirement for political parties is to make annual contribution report to the Election Commission. However, 80% of the funds are those raised below 20000 rupees, and it is this amount that often goes unnoticed. The origin of such funds is also not often traced. The CEC said EC prefers for all political parties to declare their sources of income at all levels.
The occasion also witnesses the CEC saying that India is not yet ready for state funded elections. He said this needs more transparency in money handling and decriminalization of politics. And unless such reforms under this context are done, stating funding shall become one more additional tool without reduction of use of illegal money in election campaign and this in a way can restrict the participation of right thinking citizens