CEC Zaidi says cap on anonymous donations to parties will help increase transparency in polls.
New Delhi: Having reduced the cap on anonymous donations to political parties from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 per person, the Election Commission is now looking at cashless funding as the ultimate goal to check the use of black money in elections.
If parties try to sidestep proposed changes in elections and income tax laws by taking advantage of any loophole, they will be dealt with accordingly, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi warned on Friday.
“We may consult them on how to evolve a system. Cashless donations would be the ultimate. But whether we will be able to reach there, is the question. Ultimately, the whole society is saying funding to political parties should be cashless. That is the ultimate desirable,” he said.
The CEC, however, said the commission has not started correspondence with political parties on the issue so far, as many other factors will have to be kept in mind.
Mr Zaidi’s statement came in the backdrop of experts suggesting that efforts should be made to make political donations cashless for more transparency.
Admitting that many political parties depend on cash donations of small amounts, he said, “We have to look at the availability of infrastructure for digital transactions. Will it be available in villages. I am not ruling it out. This should be the ultimate goal.”
He also maintained the decision to reduce the cap on anonymous donations to parties will help increase transparency.
Agreeing that political parties can find ways to circumvent the Rs 2,000 cap, the CEC said: “I am not saying such a situation can’t arise. I am saying, at least to some extent, transparency will increase and anonymity will come down”.
To a question on parties using small denomination coupons or receipts to generate funds, he said some parties are of the view that if small donations don’t come, they will suffer, as these donations help them in organising rallies. He said if the commission find out any misuse, it will deal with the situation accordingly.