Monday, June 20, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Government may fund women, SC/ST poll candidates

Government may fund women, SC/ST poll candidates
Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 19, 2011

In a fresh attempt to curb money power in the elections, the law
ministry has proposed that the government fund women and scheduled
caste and tribe candidates of recognised political parties. Law
minister M Veerappa Moily recommended in a draft cabinet note
circulated to various ministries that to g
et this benefit, candidates should not have an annual income of more
than R5 lakh and movable or immovable property worth more than R22

The note also made it clear that this limit would also include the
income and assets of the candidates' spouses. "The income and assets
of both the spouses will be calculated and taken together."

"This proposal, applicable to the recognised national and state-level
political parties, will bring transparency and put a check on the
inflow of unaccounted money into elections," the ministry note said.

Besides, the ministry said this would become an incentive to political
parties for fielding more SC/ST and women candidates of marginalised
sections and prepare the ground for the women's reservation bill.

The ministry pointed out that the Election Commission (EC) was earlier
not in favour of this idea given the lack of unanimity among the
political parties.

But during seven regional consultations in recent months, the ministry
said, "a consensus has emerged to check inflow of unaccounted money"
in elections.

In February, the ministry hiked — on EC's recommendations — the
spending limit for a Lok Sabha candidate from R25 lakh to R40 lakh and
for assembly constituencies in big states from R10 lakh to R16 lakh.

In the latest proposal, the law ministry has not fixed any particular
amount to be given to the candidates eligible for state funding,
saying, "At this stage, it is not feasible to give the financial
implications, which will depend on the number of candidates to be
fielded by the political parties."


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