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Political Parties & Expenditure

Political Parties & Expenditure

UPSC CSE – SYLLABUS – GS – 2- SYLLABUS – GS – 2-  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. 

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Political Parties & Expenditure

Political parties and candidates spent nearly Rs60,000 crore (around $8.65 billion) in India’s recently concluded general election, making it twice as expensive as the one in 2014, according to a recent report by the Delhi-based think tank Centre for Media Studies (CMS).

Such a huge amount of expenditure may erode the democratic polity of the nation through various forms as explained below,

  • Use of enormous money power-often unaccounted for and illegal- in politics and elections.
  • Increasing attempts to entice the voters (by the governments) with short term benefits at the cost of long term goals of ensuring basic amenities, infrastructure, quality education and healthcare and growth and job opportunities.
  • Unregulated higher election expenses foster corruption and threaten quality of governance through compromised policy making and administration besides undermining the fairness of the election process.
  • It also creates entry barriers and denial of level playing field to the more capable and public spirited.
  • Moreover, there are no serious laws to address the issue of black money in political funding.

Framework needed:

  • A law for ensuring transparency in the polity through appropriate and actionable regulatory measures to make accounts of political parties public is needed.
  • A strict code of conduct for the political parties with regard to the source of funding, expenditure on political training and mobilization of cadres and other political activities, funding of elections and candidates etc.
  • A cap could be introduced on the proportion of budgetary resources that can be deployed for short term benefits by law, this may create a level playing field and reckless and unsustainable populist measures can be kept under check.
  • State funding of elections have been endorsed by Indrajit Gupta Committee(1998), 1999 Law Commission of India report with certain limitations.
  • Ethics in Governance”, a report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008) also recommended partial state funding of elections for the purpose of reducing “illegitimate and unnecessary funding” of elections expenses.
  • Simultaneous polls (to an extent) could be considered for its many advantages including reducing the costs of holding polls and spending by political parties. For this political consensus and necessary amendments are needed.
  • Finally, awareness to the citizens to choose their representatives based on ‘Character, Conduct, Calibre and Capacity’ and not to be guided by ‘Cash, Caste, Community and Criminal prowess’ of the candidates.

The above mentioned measures are crucial to create a credible democratic polity.

http://prsindia.org/theprsblog/personal-data-protection-bill-2019-how-it-differs-draft-bill – refer it.

Source:”PIB”

POSSIBLE UPSC MAINS EXAMINATION:

Huge election expenditure by parties and populist spending by governments, at times, may erode the credibility of democratic polity. In light of this, only a proper framework placing limitations could deal with this issue. Discuss.