Friday, 29 October 2010

What could be done to Reduce Candidates' Propaganda Expenditure?

Its every one's experience that candidates spend millions of rupees on election campaign to propagate their candidature. We can't assume that this money would be recovered from legal payments the candidate gets after election. This money is recovered in huge multiples by the candidate who wins. Even other candidates find unfair means to recover at least major part of the expenditure. In short election expenditure is paid by the tax payers. This payment is not direct but indirect. If direct payment is made it shall be much less. Therefore, there is inescapable need to bear this expenditure by the government i. e. by the tax payers. Foreseeable obstacles in this are firstly, number of candidates who contest election may rise to uncontrollable limit and secondly, how to decide on propaganda expenditure for various candidates. There is a great need to seal these loopholes.

It is common tendency persons may contest election just for getting publicity or making records of contesting elections. Elections are organised to assess backing of people. That means only those should be allowed to contest who have reasonable backing from voters. Therefore, only those candidates who have backing from people should be allowed to contest. Candidate who has backing from the highest number of voters shall be elected to represent voters. There should be one more constraint. A candidate should prove at least 35 % of voters listed in that constituency. In order to assess backing from voters a simple solution would be a candidate must be sponsored by a specific percentage of the electorate. This percentage may vary between 0.001 % to 1.0 % depending on the size of the electorate. As an example let us consider 3 different electorates. First size is 2 million, second 5 lakhs and third 20000. In first case 0.01 % means 20000 voters, in second case 0.02 % means 10000 and in third case 1.0 % means 200 voters. There is need to have a procedure for ascertaining this support. Suggested procedure is every candidate must submit a report with signature and or with thumb impression by voters who support the candidate. This report should be scrutinised to confirm that there are not duplicates. Next signatures and thumb impressions shall be checked by the bank where the voter holds his/her bank account. Then records in the voters list shall be lock to ensure these voters have not backed any other candidate. This means any voter can support only one candidate. For this purpose list of candidates shall be prepared based on date and time their respective application is received. Applications of candidates who do not prove laid down percentage of voters minimum support shall be rejected and the money deposited shall be forfeited. This shall ensure those candidates who have real interest in election only shall apply.

Another point is what should be the procedure for propaganda by the candidates? There is public opinion that candidate use unfair means for grabbing votes. Care should be taken that every candidate is given equal opportunity to express his capabilities and experience such that it becomes easy for any voter to give marks to every candidate and choose to vote for the best candidate. Media which a common voter understands is print media, radio, television, hoarding, and direct conversation between candidate and the voters. The government must consider all these and provide equal opportunity for every one. While using print media bio data in a specific form and in local language in respect of every candidate must be published constituency wise and copies be distributed by the government in that constituency. A separate booklet may be published and distributed for political parties. For this purpose form should be standardised. Similar standardisation should be made for other Medias also. Arrangements should be made for public address by the candidates in respective constituency. Standardised procedure shall keep expenditure of the government at low level and reduce expenditure by the candidates to nearly zero. Those who get elected shall be less prone to unfair means during respective working as individual or party investment for propaganda tends to zero.

With these arrangements it would become fair to every one to contest elections. This would make it possible for capable, popular, experienced candidates to contest elections. They may not be driven to unfair means and there shall be positive effect on corruption and corrupt practices.

Changes needed in Democratic System in India

No comments:

Popular Posts