Ex-CEC for law to govern parties' finances

Speaking at a seminar on the Health of Political parties in India: Are reforms Overdue? organised by Centre for Standards in Public Life here on Sunday, he said: “Even top political parties in the country are not reporting about the gifts given to their top leaders (in silver and gold, et al) and other miscellaneous expenditure.”

And these parties being exempt from Income Tax - is one of the main reasons that they do not bother reporting on the “real expenditure” and most times there is no further investigation, he added. 

Stating that political parties in the country, unlike in Western nations, lack proper ideology or adequate foresight, he said that misleading people by such parties can prove costly for the Democracy in the country.

He also urged parties to stop offering items like television sets and bicycles –– targeted at select ‘voters’ –– and indulge in promising and executing constructions of schools, hospitals and other facilities that help people in general.

Also, he said that there needs to be more stringent laws to prevent political parties from violating the model code of conduct.

“There should be fines imposed on the leaders of parties violating such rules as opposed to the present rules of withdrawing the party symbol,” he suggested.

Justice M N Venkatachalaiah said there needs to be a concrete effort from all walks of the society to put an end to corruption, while Centre for Standards in Public Life Trustee and former minister B Somashekhar alleged that political parties use corporates to fund them, and the corporates reap benefits in kind.

“This should end,” he stressed.

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