ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why the Election Commission Should Seize the Day

Black Money in Politics

This article argues that the Election Commission of India should proactively implement electoral reforms aimed at improving transparency in electoral funding and ensuring that political parties do not misuse the tax benefits provided to them. It is adequately empowered to bring political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information Act and order full disclosure of all donations received by them. No additional legislation is required.

The recent demonetisation of high-value currency notes has thrust the perennial problem of black money back into focus and the initiatives needed in different sectors to control it. One such sector is politics. The political ecosphere is both a source and a sink for black money. Black money is generated to meet contributions to political parties. To this extent, politics is a sink for black money. At the time of elections and political stress, this sector becomes a source of black money, which is then mostly spent on consumption. This article argues that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should proactively implement electoral reforms aimed at improving transparency in electoral funding and ensuring that political parties do not misuse the tax benefits provided to them.

For the purposes of this analysis, we adapt the lessons learned from the ancient Greeks on rhetorical appeals to public policy.1 It can be argued that any public policy initiative can be implemented successfully only if it meets four challenges—the tests of ethos, logos, pathos, and kairos. Ethos represents the character and credibility of the implementing agency. Logos reflects the soundness of the legal foundation of the reform. Pathos appeals to feelings and emotions of the persons affected by the reform (in this case, all citizens of the country). Kairos represents the timeliness of the initiative. The article examines the proposed electoral reforms to control black money in politics with reference to these four challenges. It finds that the ECI should proactively implement these reforms immediately.

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Updated On : 2nd Nov, 2017

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