Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Note for vote, a solemn solution for Indian politics

Faking News Intelligence Group (FNIG), the research and analysis wing of Faking News editorial team, has come out with an electoral reform suggestion that can change the character and dynamics of politics and elections in India. FNIG has submitted its report to the election commission of India, which recommends paying money to all such Indian citizens who vote in an assembly or parliamentary election.

In its report, FNIG has proposed that all the candidates fighting an assembly or parliamentary election would need to submit a non-refundable amount of money with the election commission apart from their security deposit. This non-refundable amount of money would depend upon the total number of eligible voters in that constituency. FNIG has suggested that the candidates should deposit ten rupees per eligible voter with the election commission.

For example, if the total number of eligible voters in Karol Bagh parliamentary constituency of Delhi is 12 lakhs, each candidate fighting to represent Karol Bagh in Lok Sabha will need to deposit 1.2 crore rupees (12 lakhs x 10 rupees) with the election commission. This amount of money will be paid from the central funds of the political party to which the candidate belongs, while independent candidates would need to cough out the money from their own pocket.

Money collected by Election commission through such means would be used to pay the voters who would come to the polling booths to cast their vote. Each voter will be paid his/her share of ten rupees that each candidate had deposited with the election commission. So if there are ten candidates fighting for Karol Bagh parliamentary seat, each voter will receive 100 rupees after he/she casts his/her vote.

The money left with the election commission due to those voters who didn’t turn up to vote would go towards meeting electoral expenses or other development works.

FNIG believes that such a system will help address multiple challenges facing the Indian electoral system today.

Firstly and primarily, it creates an incentive system for an ordinary Indian to vote, and what can be a better incentive than giving out money.

It also restricts emergence of non-serious candidates or political parties that fight elections just to make noise and disturbance. Mostly such candidates or parties base their politics on myopic beliefs. Such parties would literally need to pay a huge price for their cheap antics in the proposed system.

Since political parties would now need to spend money heavily on paying the common man, they would stop wasting money on regular political campaigns and be frugal in their electoral spending. It will also push them to look for innovative and transparent ways to raise funds for electioneering.

And lastly but most importantly, since each political party would now need to pay each eligible voter by default, they would be impelled to think of inclusive policies and ideologies. This would ensue from the fact that such an arrangement ends up forcing parties to cater to all segments of the Indian society (by paying each of them), and not just a particular caste, religion, linguistic group, etc. Something Indian politics seriously lacks today.


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