शुक्रवार, 22 अगस्त 2008

Secrecy over India party funding

By Panini Anand BBC Hindi service, Delhi
Only a handful of India's political provide details of donations they receive to the Election Commission.
Of the 920 registered parties, only 21 have so far submitted such information. Among the defaulters are several groups which are in the ruling UPA alliance.
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.
Many parties shy away from furnishing an audit of their account as they use the money collected to buy stocks or jewellery, commission officials say.
The commission has been unsuccessfully lobbying with the government to set up an independent audit bureau which will audit the accounts of political parties.
Among the parties which have consistently failed to provide information to the commission are the Rashtriya Janata Dal party of Railway Minister Laloo Yadav and the Bahujan Samaj Party led by low-caste Dalit (formerly untouchable) icon Mayawati.
Mr Yadav's party is a member of India's governing coalition and Ms Mayawati has openly announced her ambition of becoming the prime minister of the country.
The information was revealed by India's election commission in response to a query filed under the country's Right to Information (RTI) legislation.

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