State Funding of Elections
v State funding of elections is a concept designed to reduce corruption by funding elections with government money as opposed to individual campaign contributions
v It is recommended that the state funding of elections can be the best way to achieve transparency in political funding
v It is also believed that state funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy. It brings new and growing parties, thus ensuring fair elections
v If parties and candidates are financed with only private funds, economical inequalities in the society might translate into political inequalities in government.
The Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections, 1998, backed the idea of state funding of elections on principle, stating that “The committee see full jurisdiction constitutional, legal as well as on the ground of public interest, for grant of state subvention to political parties, so as to establish such conditions where even the parties with modest financial resources may be able to compete with those who have superior financial resources.
A. Such funds could not be doled out to independent candidates, and only to national and state parties having granted a symbol and proven the popularity among the electorate
B. In the short –term, state funding may be given only in kind, in the form of certain facilities to the recognized political parties and their candidates.
The committee has recommended the creation of a separate Election Fund with an annual contribution of Rs. 600 core by the centre and a matching amount contributed by all state governments together. The committee has suggested that in order to be eligible for state funding, political parties and other candidates should have submitted their income tax returns up to the previous assessment year.