Time to make systemic changes to reduce money power in politics: JP

‘Democracy at Work’ forum to organise dialogue for change

With concerns over increasing role of money power in politics, three organisations have come together to take a hard look at the Indian democracy and brainstorm over making the democracy work better.

Foundation for Democratic Reforms (FDR), Indian School of Business-Bharti Institute of Public Policy and University of Hyderabad have decided to organise a series of annual conferences under the ‘Indian Democracy at Work’ forum to deliberate on critical levers of change that need to be pushed to make democracy deliver better results.

The first two-day conference in the series to be held at ISB on January 9 will be inaugurated by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and its theme is ‘Money Power in Politics’. It will provide a platform for conversations and dialogues between political leaders, civil society groups, social activists, media persons, civil servants, business people, academics and other professionals.

FDR founder Jayaprakash Narayan told The Hindu that one needed to stop blaming politicians and parties for all that is wrong with politics and governance. They are as much victims of vicious cycle as they are a part of a dysfunctional system. “Whatever may be the preferences and view points of individuals and parties, status quo is not an option. People cannot afford to wait for decades for our democracy to improve. The forum decided to act thoughtfully, responsibly and with urgency to suggest systemic changes to reduce role of money in elections,” he said.

Many independent studies estimate that in a five-year period, the expenditure incurred is about ₹1 lakh crore for all elections. In addition, direct and indirect cost of party maintenance accounts for another ₹1 lakh crores in five years. That is ₹40,000 crore a year! For a poor country, it is an unnecessary burden on parties. Most of that expenditure is illegitimate is another grave concern, he said.

So, alternatives like direct election for head of government, separating powers of legislature and executive, system of proportional representation to political parties on basis of percentage of votes they get to reduce expenditure on vote buying, governance and service delivery with accountability will be discussed, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:27:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/time-to-make-systemic-changes-to-reduce-money-power-in-politics-jp/article30506902.ece

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