In a statement, it described the electoral process as the fountainhead of corruption

Describing the electoral process as the fountainhead of corruption, the Council for Social Development (CSD) on Tuesday called for public funding of elections.

This, it said, would curb a very important source of corruption and reduce barriers to wider participation in the electoral process.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the CSD said political parties seem to be unanimous in sticking to the view that their current practices and discretion on matters of election funding must not be opened out to public debate and scrutiny. According to it, the public funding of elections is a minimum non-negotiable requirement of constitutional governance.

“All political parties and governments at the Centre as well as the States, through their overt and covert actions, are complicit in their pursuit of corporate-led growth-path, the main characteristics of which are production for catering to the needs of the privileged sections, and foreign markets, profitability at the cost of wager earners, growth at cost of employment, neglect of agriculture and environmental degradation. This growth-path has resulted in increasing inequalities between the rich and the poor, further impoverishment and immiseration of those who are vulnerable owing to being Dalits, tribals, minority groups, the vast number of women and children, the forced migrants and refugees, and workers in the informal sector,” Prof. Muchkund Dubey, Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty and Prof. K.B. Saxena said while releasing the statement.

Appealing to the political parties to opt for people-oriented growth, the CSD Fellows said the current corporate-driven growth strategy should be replaced by a people-oriented development strategy. The strategy, it added, should be based on the creation of demand within the country, the production of local mass consumption goods and generation of universal employment.

Further, they said, the retreat of the state had severely affected the poor and the marginalised sections of the population. Social public goods and services are now being increasingly demanded by the people as their legal right, the Fellows said.

While legislation enacted recently are necessary and critical measures, they cannot also substitute policies for the creation of employment, equal opportunities for access to services and productive assets, and expansion of rural infrastructure. Without these, the CSD statement said, legal rights would suffer from inherent constraints and limitations.

Besides, these legislation, as formulated and implemented by the government, do not guarantee that citizens would be able to exercise the rights granted under them.