Electoral commission proposes to reduce anonymous political donations from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000

Aiming for reforms and transparency of donations received by political parties, the Electoral Commission has proposed to reduce anonymous political donations from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000.

The voting committee wrote a letter to the Union Department of Justice recommending various amendments to the Representation of the People Act.

Recently, the Commission delisted 284 non-compliant Unrecognized Registered Political Parties (RUPPs), declaring more than 253 of them inactive. Earlier, the Income Tax Department raided a number of such entities across the country on charges of tax evasion.

Currently, political parties must disclose all donations above Rs 20,000 through their contribution report which is submitted to the EC.

Sources said that the Commission has proposed to lower the threshold for cash donations made to political parties from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000. If the proposal is approved, all donations above Rs 2,000 will be part of the contribution which is submitted to the Commission.

There are a few political parties that showed contributions above Rs 20,000 as nil, while their audited financial statements showed receipt of huge sums – all below the Rs 20,000 limit.

The poll panel also proposed to limit cash donations to 20% or a maximum of Rs 20 crore to clean up election funding of black money.

The proposed changes will also lead to the maintenance of a separate account for election-related receipts and payments by the candidate and these must be transparently disclosed to the authorities as election expenses.

In addition, the Commission also wants each candidate to open a separate bank account for the purpose of the ballot which will contain all the details related to all expenses and receipts within the framework of the election expenses.

The electoral reforms proposed by the Electoral Commission would also include the separation of foreign funds from party funds for more transparency in the financing of political parties.

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