The Election Commission (EC) has proposed a ten-point plan to curb use of black money ahead of the coming assembly polls in five states and Lok Sabha elections later and sought the views of all recognised political parties on it.
The EC’s suggestions include a clause making it mandatory for the ‘Treasurer’ of the party to maintain all the finances and accounts of the party and that accounting norms of the parties should comply with the standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
The EC, in letters to the recognized political parties, also said donations made to a party should be deposited in a recognised bank account within a reasonable time.
The poll watchdog, which has created an election expenditure monitoring cell and deploys tax sleuths to monitor cash funds for some years now, has stressed that all payments made to candidates for poll-related expenses should be done through recognised banking channels as mandated by RBI.
“Where the party provides any lump sum amount to its candidates for meeting their election campaign expenses, it should be ensured that such amount is given only by Account Payee cheque or draft or by RTGS or NEFT or internet transfer”, the EC said.
The Commission also suggested parties should obtain a “utilisation certificate” from the candidates for funds disbursed to them saying this money has been spent for “defraying” their election-related expenses.
The EC also asked the parties that “during election process, the political parties may ensure that any party candidate, party functionary or party worker does not carry party funds in cash exceeding a specified amount.”
In its three-page letter dated August 30 to the parties, the EC has recommended parties “should get their accounts audited for every financial year and submit a copy of audited accounts to it before September 30“.
The Commission has sought the suggestions and comments of the parties before September 30 this year.
“The Commission feels that it is desirable for the political parties to observe transparency and accountability in respect of funds raised and expenditure incurred both during elections and in other times.
Further, in the interest of conduct of free and fair elections, it is necessary and expedient to provide guidelines for bringing transparency and accountability with regard to funds of political parties,” the EC said in its letter.