PM suggests state funding of elections to combat corruption

Prime Minister Modi has suggested state funding of elections as a measure to fight corruption and improve transparency in public life. He has also called the political parties to achieve consensus on holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

State funding of elections

To tackle the menace of money power in elections, one of the solutions put forward is bringing in a system of state funding of elections. In such a system, the government itself would fund, partially or fully (depending upon the particular model adopted), the election expenses of political parties and independent candidates. This will eliminate the need of giving tickets to only rich candidates, thus incentivizing parties to give tickets to poor people as well. The state funding of elections thus has the potential to give a more representative and broad-based parliament and not merely an amalgamation of several oligarchies

Previous reports

The following government reports have dealt with state funding of elections:

  • Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998)
  • Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999)
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001)
  • Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008)

Of the above reports, the Indrajit Gupta Committee report (1998) and the law commission report (1999) have endorsed state funding of elections. In addition, the 1999 report pitched for the need to devise appropriate framework for regulation of political parties before state funding of elections is attempted. Out of the remaining two reports, while the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008) report endorsed partial state funding of elections, the National Commission’s report (2001) did not endorse state funding of elections.