State Funding of Elections

Recently, there has been an increased talk about bringing the State Funding of elections in India.

Key Points

  • State funding of polls imply the government providing funds to parties and candidates to fight elections, replacing the existing system of ploughing in private or party funds for the job.
  • Its main purpose is to make it unnecessary for contestants to take money from powerful moneyed interests so that they can remain clean.
  • For this to happen, state funding needs to be accompanied by strict accounting and transparency.
  • The share of votes gained in the previous elections and the number of seats in legislative bodies is also used as a criterion.
  • Usually, a lower limit for votes or share of votes is kept to prevent misuse of the provision by floating new parties that contest a large number of seats.
  • Current state funding measures include provision of free time on public broadcasters for national parties in general elections and for registered state parties in state legislature elections.
  • Besides this, national parties are provided some benefits like security, office space, utility subsidies etc.
  • Another form of indirect state funding available in India is that registered political parties do not have to pay income tax.