Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines
In Democracy the power is said to be with the common man but actually it rests with politicians. The politicians are free to receive donations from corporates and individuals. The irony is that the present laws of the Election Commission of India can’t force political parties to make their funding details public.
According to Election commission records in August 2010 there were 6 National parties, 46 state level parties and 1112 non recognized political parties in India.
In 2003 only 11 parties submitted their funding details to ECI. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 only 16 parties submitted funding details. In 2007-08, 18 parties shared their financial details and the number rose to 57 in 2008-09 but out of 57 parties 27 said that they have not received any donation in the said year.
In 2009-10, 44 parties have submitted their funding details and 9 give their funds as NIL. In 2010-11 only 24 parties submitted details of their funds out of which 11 received no funds in the said year.
According to a 2003 amendment to the election rules, all parties should provide their financial information. But, as the rule is not enforceable, parties ignore it and the commission is unable to take any action.
Election Commission officials and civil society activists say political parties must be made to submit financial information to the commission to promote transparency and make them accountable to their donors.
At the moment, it is only a moral obligation on the part of a political party to reveal its funding and we all know about morals of our powerful politicians.
(This report is second in series of Political Parties and their Funding, soon we will share information about funding of Other Parties)