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Restrict money donations to political events to Rs 2,000: EC writes to Legislation Ministry

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New Delhi: The Election Fee has proposed bringing down nameless political donations from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 and cap money donations at 20 per cent or at a most of Rs 20 crore to cleanse election funding of black cash, sources stated on Monday.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar has written a letter to Union Legislation Minister Kiren Rijiju recommending a slew of amendments within the Illustration of the Folks (RP) Act, sources within the authorities stated.

The proposals are geared toward ushering in reforms and transparency in donations obtained by political events, and likewise the expenditure incurred by candidates attempting their luck on the hustings, they stated.

The transfer comes within the backdrop of the ballot panel not too long ago delisting 284 defaulting and non-compliant registered unrecognised political events (RUPPs), declaring greater than 253 of them inactive.

The Earnings-tax division not too long ago raided plenty of such entities throughout the nation on costs of tax evasion after the EC shared its report with its administrative authority, the CBDT.

In keeping with the recent proposals, the sources stated, the ballot panel has batted for reducing the brink restrict for money donations made to political events from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000.

As per guidelines in power at the moment, political events must disclose all donations above Rs 20,000 by their contribution report that’s submitted to the EC.

Sources stated if the EC’s proposal is authorised by the Legislation Ministry, all donations above Rs 2,000 shall be reported by the contribution report, thereby enhancing transparency in funding.

The Fee discovered, the sources stated, that whereas donations reported by some political events had been nil, their audited accounts assertion confirmed receipt of big quantities, proving large-scale transactions in money, under the brink restrict of Rs 20,000.

The EC has additionally sought to limit money donations at 20 per cent or at most Rs 20 crore out of the full funds obtained by a celebration, whichever is much less.

As a part of bringing transparency within the expenditure made by particular person candidates contesting polls and to take away “fungibility” on this expenditure, the EC has sought that digital transactions or account payee cheque transfers must be made necessary for all bills above Rs 2,000 to a single entity/particular person.

Authorities sources stated as soon as this modification — to be made in Rule 89 of the Conduct of Election Guidelines, 1961 — is carried out, a candidate must preserve a separate account for receipt and funds associated to elections and the identical needs to be transparently disclosed to authorities, as an account of election expenditure.

As of now, sustaining a separate checking account for ballot expenditure is a part of the directions however EC needs it to turn into a part of Conduct of Election Guidelines.

The EC additionally needs each candidate to open a separate checking account for election functions, route all bills and receipts by this account, and furnish these particulars of their account of election expenditure.

The EC has additionally sought “electoral reforms” to make sure that no international donations creep into the funds of the events as stipulated below the RP Act and the International Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

The sources stated, at current, there is no such thing as a mechanism to segregate international donations on the preliminary phases particularly, and the current format of contribution report is “not geared up” to hunt further info.

The Fee, subsequently, has searched for a broad dialogue on the topic between completely different stakeholder ministries to give you a mechanism to determine and deter prohibited international donations.

One other space of concern that has been recognized by the EC is the violation of international alternate rules, they stated.
 

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