Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Sep 2020

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.–Henry David Thoreau

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #128 :“Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC

Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC

Arun Maira

Arun Maira is Former Member, Planning Commission and author of ‘Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions’

      HEADLINES:

A case for down-to-earth governance

      CENTRAL THEME:

Strong local governance remains the unfinished agenda to make India’s democracy strong and deep

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Electoral Funding

      MAINS QUESTION:

Electoral funding setup has many loopholes in representative democracies around the globe. Discuss possible solutions taking citizens into account .(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Lokpal
  • Electoral funding and challenges
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

Anna’s movement 9 years ago — rich, middle class, and poor — came together to take politics back from politicians and to demand Parliament’s accountability to citizens.

  • Since then the nation’s attention has moved on, from weaknesses in institutions of governance, to threats from China on the nation’s borders and to global problems caused by COVID-19.

      BODY: 

HAZARE’S POINT

  • JAN LOKPAL : The single point demand of the Anna movement was the institution of the Jan Lokpal to try all government functionaries when accused of corruption; even the Prime Minister.
  • DECENTRALISATION : Parliamentarians of all parties were affronted by the claims of leaders of the Anna movement that they were the representatives of the people rather than the Parliamentarians.
  • FUNDAMENTALS OF GOVERNANCE : Electoral reforms and decentralisation of power were essential.

MONEY STILL MATTERS

  • POLITICAL FUNDING : Around the world, electoral democracies have become infected by the disease of funding political parties and elections.

Money is required to win elections legitimately, even when people are not bribed to vote, which is illegitimate.

  • MASS MEDIA : Communications with citizens, essential for democracy, can be very expensive.
  • SOCIALISATION : Advertisements have to be paid for as well as teams of professionals for managing social media.
  • RAISING FUNDS : If one party raises a million to spend, and the other raises two million, the first must raise even more or its million would have been wasted were it to lose the election.
  • LEGITIMATE ELECTIONEERING : Thus, the race to raise more money for legitimate electioneering purposes can corrupt the process of funding parties and elections.
  • COMPLEX SOLUTIONS : As the right to free speech, and to put one’s money where one’s mouth is, is a fundamental right that cannot be denied as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled.

PROCESS AND DELIBERATIONS

  • MAJOR ISSUE : The problem in electoral democracies is not only with the process by which representatives are elected, but also in the conduct of their deliberations when they come together.
  • QUALITY CHECKS : This problem is not due to the quality of the individuals — whether they are ‘educated’ or not or even whether they have criminal records or not.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution had worried about this problem. 

  • CONSTITUENCIES : Representatives of the people must be chosen by smaller electorates within geographical constituencies.
  • COLLECTIVELY RESPONSIBLE : However, when they meet together in the national chamber, they are expected to govern the whole country.
  • DECISION MAKING : Electing good representatives to Assemblies is not enough to ensure good decisions will be made.

INNER DEMOCRACY

  • ALIGNMENT OF VIEWS : A party’s point of view on fundamental matters can unite many.
  • EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE : It is easier to form effective governments in electoral democracies when there are fewer parties.

MANY VIEWPOINTS : When there are too many parties and too many contradictory points of view to be accommodated within a coalition, governance can break down.

  • UNDEMOCRATIC PARTY :  If political parties are not internally democratic, they become reviled as the means for self-aggrandising politicians to a mass power and wealth, and democratic nations suffer.
  • ONE-SIZE SOLUTIONS : These devised by experts at the centre cannot fit all: therefore, local systems solutions are essential to solve global systemic problems of environmental sustainability and inclusive growth.

      IASbhai Windup: 

CITIZENS MUST SOLVE ISSUES

  • REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY : Electoral funding must be cleaned up, and democracy within political parties improved to make representative democracy work better.

SYSTEMIC CHANGES : This will require big changes to entrenched systems, yet will not be sufficient for good, democratic governance.

  • PROBING SOLUTIONS : Citizens must appreciate that they have to be the source of solutions, and not become only the source of problems for governments and experts to solve for them.

A strong local governance remains the unfinished agenda to make India’s democracy strong and deep.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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