The electoral Bond scheme is a step that will take away transparency and accountability from electoral funding. Critically analyze.
The electoral Bond scheme is a tool to fund political parties and their elections. It brings a mechanism to fund political parties through digital payments while ensuring secrecy.
Electrical bonds – towards Transparency and Accountability:
- The bonds can only be given through verified bank accounts, leading to the reduced role of black money in funding politicians.
- Proper authentication of donors using the e-KYC mechanism.
- Protects donors’ identity, who were often victimized earlier.
- Ensures funding to legitimate parties only, as only those parties are eligible who get at least 1% vote.
Away from transparency and accountability:
- The anonymous nature of funding means that citizens are unaware of, who is funding the parties and can influence policy making at the national level.
- In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 95% of donations from unknown sources were through electoral bonds. Further, 70% of donations to national parties are from unknown sources.
- It can lead to foreign companies or shell companies funding political parties.
- Non-declaration of funds – earlier it was mandated that all donations above Rs. 20000 were to be reported under Income Tax Act. This doesn’t apply to electoral bonds. Similar exemptions are provided to companies also.
- The national government can track, which political parties are being funded as transactions are routed through SBI.
This is why Election Commission has also raised issues with the scheme. There is a need to consider partial state funding of elections, as suggested by the Indrajit Gupta committee.
Topics: GS-II: Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States • GS-II: Salient Features of the Representation of Peoples Act • GS-II: Various Issues Related to Executive Judiciary in India