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Launch The Mother of All Reforms – Tax Party Funds

Advocating a move that could prove to be the biggest blow to the corruption in high places.

By PPFI Team

November 12, 2008

Politics is usually a full-time engagement for most politicians in India. There are more than 50 million political party workers spread across India. And funding is critical to the survival of the party organistions. All political parties get generous donations from big corporate houses and other wealthy party members. People who have fund-raising capabilities more often than not rise quicker than others in the party hierarchy.

However no political party admits to receiving donations from the rich and the powerful. They project that they are fighting for a cause and all the party workers have joined them voluntarily. The donations received thus become the root cause of corruption and black money. The desperate need of funds to run party organisations leads to a situation where even people the top levels of party organisation and government do not remain immune from its influence.
One the other hand, the Election Commission of India has emerged in the last decade and a half as a model organisation for democracies across the world when it comes to conducting free and fair elections. It has remained immune from all kinds of political interference. It has a separate Secretariat at New Delhi, consisting of about 300 officials, in a hierarchical set up. The gigantic task force for conducting a countrywide general election consists of nearly five million polling personnel and civil police forces.
This huge election machinery is deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission and is subject to its control, superintendence and discipline during the election period, extending over a period of one and half to two months. The Secretariat of the Commission has an independent budget, which is finalised directly in consultation between the Commission and the Finance Ministry of the Union Government.
Even though the commission has an independent budget, the money ultimately comes from the ordinary taxpayer's pocket. Hence it would be a good idea to put a tax of 10 per cent on all kinds of donations to political parties. The tax collected should be directly transferred to the election commission. This will lead to transparency in the financial dealings of the political parties and at the same time generate a huge corpus for the election commission to meet its expenses.
This will allow the parties to run on the pattern of corporate houses and take a better care of the infrastructure and basic needs of their party workers. The political parties may even evolve a pay structure for their permanent workers which will generate employment for some people. Most importantly, the move will put a check on corruption and the influence of black-money in Indian politics which prove to be a stumbling block whenever right decisions in the interest of the country are about to be taken by the political parties.

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