Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Model to ‘cleanse’ political funding soon

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said various models were under consideration to evolve a cleaner system of funding for political parties, but his personal preference was the digital campaign wherein hundreds of millions of donors could contribute small amounts to political parties electronically.

Responding to queries in a conversation on “Towards a new polity: Campaign finance reform in India” organised by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, Jaitley said several models, including the introduction of “electoral bonds”, were being contemplated.

Among them was the Election Commission recommendation of bringing down anonymous cash donations by individuals from existing Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 and continuing with the existing system.

“Electoral bonds would be issued by authorised banks for a limited period of time before the elections. The life of the bonds would also be very short to ensure that they do not become another way of laundering money. Though the method is totally clean, substantially transparent and will also help donors, my preferred option is the digital mechanism,” Jaitley said.

(This Report was published in The Tribune on 9th march 2017)