New Delhi: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that the electoral bonds mechanism recently notified by the government was a substantial improvement in transparency over the present system and added that the government was open to suggestions to further cleanse political funding.
“Elections cost money. The round-the-year functioning of political parties involves a large expenditure. There has not been a single year where elections, either for Parliament or the state Assemblies, have not been held,” he said in a Facebook post.
“The government is willing to consider all suggestions to further strengthen the cleansing of political funding in India. It has to be borne in mind that impractical suggestions will not improve the cash system. These would only consolidate it,” he said.
He pointed out that the conventional system of political funding was to rely on donations. “These donations come from a range of sources — from political workers, sympathisers, small businesses and even large industrialists. The conventional practice of funding the political system was to take donations in cash and undertake these expenditures in cash. The sources are anonymous or pseudonymous. The quantum of money was never disclosed,” said Mr Jaitley.
He noted that the present system ensures unclean money coming from unidentifiable sources. It is a wholly non-transparent system. “Most political groups seem fairly satisfied with the present arra-ngement and would not mind this status quo to continue. The effort, ther-efore, is to run down any alternative system which is devised to clean up the political funding mechanism,” he said.
He said that the electoral bond scheme he had placed before Parliament last week envisages totally clean money and substantial transparency coming into the system of political funding.