IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Sep 2020
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.–Henry David Thoreau
EDITORIAL HUNT #128 :“Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC“
Arun Maira is Former Member, Planning Commission and author of ‘Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions’
A case for down-to-earth governance
Strong local governance remains the unfinished agenda to make India’s democracy strong and deep
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Electoral Funding
Electoral funding setup has many loopholes in representative democracies around the globe. Discuss possible solutions taking citizens into account .(GS 2)
- Electoral funding and challenges
- Way Forward
- Since then the nation’s attention has moved on, from weaknesses in institutions of governance, to threats from China on the nation’s borders and to global problems caused by COVID-19.
- JAN LOKPAL : The single point demand of the Anna movement was the institution of the Jan Lokpal to try all government functionaries when accused of corruption; even the Prime Minister.
- DECENTRALISATION : Parliamentarians of all parties were affronted by the claims of leaders of the Anna movement that they were the representatives of the people rather than the Parliamentarians.
- FUNDAMENTALS OF GOVERNANCE : Electoral reforms and decentralisation of power were essential.
MONEY STILL MATTERS
- POLITICAL FUNDING : Around the world, electoral democracies have become infected by the disease of funding political parties and elections.
- MASS MEDIA : Communications with citizens, essential for democracy, can be very expensive.
- SOCIALISATION : Advertisements have to be paid for as well as teams of professionals for managing social media.
- RAISING FUNDS : If one party raises a million to spend, and the other raises two million, the first must raise even more or its million would have been wasted were it to lose the election.
- LEGITIMATE ELECTIONEERING : Thus, the race to raise more money for legitimate electioneering purposes can corrupt the process of funding parties and elections.
- COMPLEX SOLUTIONS : As the right to free speech, and to put one’s money where one’s mouth is, is a fundamental right that cannot be denied as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled.
PROCESS AND DELIBERATIONS
- MAJOR ISSUE : The problem in electoral democracies is not only with the process by which representatives are elected, but also in the conduct of their deliberations when they come together.
- QUALITY CHECKS : This problem is not due to the quality of the individuals — whether they are ‘educated’ or not or even whether they have criminal records or not.
- CONSTITUENCIES : Representatives of the people must be chosen by smaller electorates within geographical constituencies.
- COLLECTIVELY RESPONSIBLE : However, when they meet together in the national chamber, they are expected to govern the whole country.
- DECISION MAKING : Electing good representatives to Assemblies is not enough to ensure good decisions will be made.
- ALIGNMENT OF VIEWS : A party’s point of view on fundamental matters can unite many.
- EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE : It is easier to form effective governments in electoral democracies when there are fewer parties.
- UNDEMOCRATIC PARTY : If political parties are not internally democratic, they become reviled as the means for self-aggrandising politicians to a mass power and wealth, and democratic nations suffer.
- ONE-SIZE SOLUTIONS : These devised by experts at the centre cannot fit all: therefore, local systems solutions are essential to solve global systemic problems of environmental sustainability and inclusive growth.
CITIZENS MUST SOLVE ISSUES
- REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY : Electoral funding must be cleaned up, and democracy within political parties improved to make representative democracy work better.
- PROBING SOLUTIONS : Citizens must appreciate that they have to be the source of solutions, and not become only the source of problems for governments and experts to solve for them.
A strong local governance remains the unfinished agenda to make India’s democracy strong and deep.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Electoral Funding and Corruption | UPSC