Run in many places calling for protection of the Amazon forest

On August 23, in many Brazilian cities, thousands of people flocked to the streets, taking part in the rally to protect the rainforest of Amazon, which suffered from fires in time.  


In cities like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Brasilia, protesters call for action to protect the Amazon forest from serious destruction. Protesters also criticized the policy on the environment of President Jair Bolsonaro, and asked the President to dismiss Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.  

Earlier, the opposition leader sent a letter requesting the impeachment of Minister Salles with allegations of his policies against the duties of an Environment minister. 

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Fires in the Amazon forest , known as the lungs of the planet, also led to protests in many other countries. Earlier, the same day, many demonstrations took place outside the embassies and consulates of Brazil in major cities such as London (England), Berlin (Germany), Madrid (Spain) and Mumbai (India). ).

Meanwhile, in France, thousands of people plan to hold a march within a radius of 30 km around the Biarritz seaside resort, where the World Leading Industry Group Summit takes place (G7) to condemn poverty and environmental damage.  

Over the past two weeks, Amazon forest fires have destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest. The international community is concerned that fires seriously affect the environment, the flora and fauna in the area are called the green lungs of the planet.

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According to official figures from the Brazilian Government, more than 76,000 forest fires have been recorded in the country for the first 8 months, the highest number since 2013, and most occur in the Amazon. Compared to the same period last year, Amazon forest fire since the beginning of the year has increased by 83%.

The exact amount of damage caused by the Amazon forest fire has yet to be determined, but the smoke covers the city of Sao Paulo and some other Brazilian cities. Meanwhile, forest fires tend to be more serious due to the current dry season, lasting until the end of October or early November, and the habit of deforestation for cultivation and cattle grazing.

Climate change could be a major factor in the 2020 US presidential election

In the aftermath of climate change, such as devastating wildfires in California, heavy rains cause floods throughout the United States and droughts devastate the entire crop in the central US, making climate change possible. The main factor in the US presidential election in 2020.


So far, only O’Rourke and Inslee’s climate plans address the general question of how to stop America’s carbon emissions. Each proposal aims to bring the United States out of dependence on fossil fuels and invest in “green jobs” for economic development. Candidate Inslee’s plan is similar to the “new green deal” in place to bring the United States completely into clean energy use by 2030. But Mr. Inslee also left the possibility of using nuclear energy – an energy industry that some environmental activists strongly oppose.

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When announcing his election plan, O’Rourke said that the biggest threat facing the United States is the problem of climate change. Meanwhile, candidate Booker said that the administration of President D. Trump has pulled the environmental protection agency, pushed back measures to protect clean air and clean water, and did not control the who pollute the environment, causing “great and painful harm to vulnerable communities”.

According to environmental groups, the implementation of a number of different proposals on climate change response shows that Democratic Party candidates are taking serious measures to prevent the warming of the earth. Charlie Jiang, a member of the “Greenpeace” group, thinks that the act of protecting the earth’s climate is a top concern of Americans in 2020. Meanwhile, May Boeve, the CEO of the organization. According to May Boeve, voters consider response to climate change a top priority in the presidential election and say they will support the boldest vision to prevent natural-use projects. Fossil fuels destroy the climate. Boeve also wishes to help candidates build an environmentally sustainable vision for the future.

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The bill passed by the House of Representatives is called the “Act for Climate Immediate Action”, prohibiting the use of federal funds in the plan to withdraw from the Agreement and forcing the President to develop a plan to implement the meaning. the US case under the Paris Agreement, which involves 26% -28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to 2005. This document received the support of 231 Congressmen, while 190 members oppose it. Of these, 3 Republican lawmakers on the Democratic Party voted in favor.

Speaking after the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the bill as urgent about ethics, economics and national security, while emphasizing the passage of the bill as the right step direction. However, the Senate – currently controlled by the Republicans – is less likely to take similar measures. However, the above action shows that climate change has become a hot issue in US politics.

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Some environmental groups also have their own recommendations and argue that anyone who is nominated to replace Mr. D. Trump in 2020 also needs to fight the fossil fuel industry and look for etching solutions. recovering from the climate crisis. In a joint statement, environmental activists said that was the reason for a full discussion focused on climate change to make it possible for candidates to come up with spending the specific and reliable plan.

Australian Rugby Union ARU carries out rules for Aboriginal mediation

Australian Rugby Union President ARU admits the Federation’s rules need to be modified, to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Islander players, to choose this sport to build their careers.


The Federation launched the Medication Action Plan that coincided with the Indigenous Reconciliation Week and much to do to solve the problem, which the Football Bureau AFL and NRL have shown better in this area.

The Australian Rugby Union for short, called ARU, now seeks to move more deeply with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

It is known that this sport has a few typical cases of Aboriginal players like Kurtley Baele and Matt Hodgson, but Mr. Bill Pulver, ARU President said that the number is still much lower than that of the Football Bureau.

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“We talked a lot with the former Wallabies players, Aboriginal or Torres Islanders, and you really have a good feeling that, while I think we have made a lot of progress. In many cases, they don’t feel we are making progress, so we have to do better”.

The new Mediation Action Program will increase ARU’s relationship with the development team called Lloyd McDermott, to help Aboriginal rugby players join for the past 20 years.

There will also be a special video screened before the matches, in matches between teams in Australia. Foreign teams visiting Australia will be awarded a traditional Aboriginal cane, as a celebration.

Former Wallaby national player Gary Ella, a member of the Lloyd McDermott Foundation, said he felt ARU was increasingly interested in Aboriginal talents.

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“You know, they are showing this goal, by funding the said plan. They combine programs together and make sure that plans show that Aboriginal people are highly respected. a lot of”.

In addition to respecting Aboriginal traditions, it can also help to achieve achievements, if not only for one generation. It is known that Ella’s brothers were famous in the football world in the 1980s, but since then, only a few Aboriginal talents have appeared.

One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the rules of competitive Rugby Games are AFL and NRL, ensuring that many Aboriginal players are in their shirt colors.

FIFA studies the transfer of juvenile players

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the organization will consider changing regulations on transfer of adolescent players after the Chelsea club’s banning of two transfers.


Last week, Chelsea were banned from signing any player for the next two transfers because they were found guilty of violating FIFA’s regulations on signing contracts with foreign players under 18 years old. FIFA law stipulates that players aged 18 and under can only transfer to foreign countries if they meet one of the following three criteria: If the player’s parents migrate for reasons unrelated to football; Both clubs are in Europe or in the European Economic Area; and players aged 16 to 18 or players who live within a radius of 100 km from the new club.

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Clubs like Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also been banned from transfer in recent years due to violations of the statute. And at the press conference in Rome (Italy) on 27 February, Mr. Infantino emphasized that there is a need to study carefully to renew the regulations.

Reuters cited Infantino’s statement as saying: “There are rules and regulations whether we like it or not and still have to comply when they are valid. If we don’t like them, we need to change … Maybe we should increase the minimum age across Europe, or we need to allow certain exceptions based on some clear criteria, to boys or girls may have good exercise conditions on the one hand, but on the other hand, can protect minors. That is our main priority, so this is definitely the area that we must study and continue to research in the future”.

Infantino also said FIFA intends to review the rules for the operation of the soccer. “We are planning to review regulations governing football players’ representatives because they feel the need to revise these rules to achieve better results”, he said. Current financial flows related to transfer are about 8 billion euros/year, not to mention the amount paid to the players. So I think it will only be fair if there are statutes for people involved in transfer missions, their careers clearly need to be managed. All other careers are managed and followed disciplines in Italy and around the world, so why are the agents not?”

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The FIFA head added that players in the US are following stricter regulations. “Look at what’s happening in the US. The country is often taken as an example, but the United States is home to a market of economic freedom. Everything is open, people do what they want. But these industries are strictly regulated. In the United States there are a large number of books that govern transfer and change issues related to clubs and representatives. In Europe and FIFA, we have only small books, so we have some work to do…”.

Oscar Sport Award 2019 honors a player Novak Djokovic

Serbian tennis players Novak Djokovic has passed many names such as Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric (football), Lewis Hamilton (Motor Racing F1), LeBron James (basketball), Eliud Kipchoge (athletics) to win the title male athlete of the year at the Laureus World Sports Awards held in Monaco.


Despite the back injury, but Djokovic has played impressively to win 5 titles in the ATP in the year 2018, including two Grand Slam Championship that are Wimbledon and the US Open. At the same time he also regained the world no. 1 star from the hands of Spanish rival Rafael Nadal.

Share with the press, Djokovic said: “Laureus award is always the dream of every athlete. This is truly a great honor and at the same time as a special reward for me. The year 2018 is an unbelievable season and I will remember forever about it”.

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This is the fourth time Djokovic won this noble titles, rivaling that of the former Athletics star Usain Bolt. Meanwhile in award categories for women, fitness American athletes were honored with Biles Simone the brilliant success in the year 2018. Coach Arsene Wenger also received a lifetime achievement award for what he has devoted to football.

Also the year’s team award was awarded to the French team with impressive achievements brought the world football Golden Cup to the Light Capital. In addition, Laureus 2019 also some other impressive awards categories such as Japanese players Naomi Osaka awarded “the breakthrough of the year”; the title “the return of the year” in the hands of golf Tiger Woods; Henrieta Farkasova (skiing) was honored as “disabled athlete of the year” …

Sports awards annual Laureus World are two Daimler AG and Richemont co-founded in 1999, which aims to glorify the female, male athletes and teams for their competition in all sports.

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The process of selection of the Laureus Awards employer consists of two stages. First, a selection board consists of the editor, reporter and sports broadcaster from 120 countries choose 6 candidates personally, or the national team and clubs for each category.

After that, the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy (including legendary athlete 46 world) secret ballot to pick out the winner. Also by the process chosen and carefully selected, so often as the Laureus Award is considered as the “Oscar of the sports world”.

The fight against crime in world politics has not ended

The campaign for the decriminalization of politics is high on the national agenda. The role of judiciary and civil society in highlighting the menace of criminalization and ways to curb the trend has been historic


The order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on March 10, 2014 has a very long range impact in terms of remedy. The bench headed by Justice RM Lodha of Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered for expediting the proceedings against sitting MPs and MLAs in criminal cases and has further set a deadline for the trial court to complete the hearing of the cases within a year of framing of charges.

It has further provided that the trial court need to give explanation to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court if the trial is not completed within a year. The bench observed that the proceedings should be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to decide the case within the prescribed time limit.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho The fight against crime in world politics has not ended

If effectively implemented, this order has far reaching consequences in cleansing the politics of the country. Firstly, it would deter the criminals from seeking tickets as this would expose them to the prescribed limit of one year for the judicial verdict on the charges. Secondly, the political parties who are sensitive to the number game in terms of capturing power would shy away from taking risk of giving tickets to candidates with criminal background as any conviction of sitting MLA/MP would result in vacancy in the State Assembly and in the Parliament as the case may be which could directly impact the tenuous majority of the ruling party. The judgment of March 10, 2014 has come at a very opportune time as the parties are actively engaged in selecting candidates for forthcoming elections to Parliament and few State Assemblies

The Public Interest Litigation was filed by an NGO, Public Interest Foundation in 2010-11. This PIL was admitted on grounds that the entry of criminals amounts to coercion in the electoral process and the free exercise of vote and the ultimate choice is a compromise. The petition has made four prayers. Firstly, it sought relief for the issuance of guidelines to ensure that those charged with serious criminal offenses are disqualified to contest the elections to Parliament and State Legislature. Second, prayer was for laying down six months time period for judicial determination of the charge sheet by the competent court. Thirdly, direction to the Government for enacting appropriate legislation so as to debar those charged with serious criminal offenses contesting elections and lastly, declare the provisions of section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 as unconstitutional.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho The fight against crime in world politics has not ended

The interested parties, i.e. Election Commission of India and the Union Government were given due notice by the apex court. Fortunately, the Election Commission concurred with the prayer made in the PIL. However, the Union of India did not play ball with the campaign against decriminalization and raised the preliminary objection that the prayer falls in the domain of parliamentary legislation as policy matter and cannot be heard by Hon’ble Supreme Court. However, the bench of the apex court was sensitive to the cause and sought the recommendations the Law Commission on the issue of disqualification once the charge sheet is framed and the penalty under section 125A of RPA, 1951 in cases where falls affidavit is filed by the candidate. The Law Commission gave its recommendation to the apex court.

 

China makes strange laws, bringing 50 young players into the barracks

Chinese public opinion is expressing outrage at the strategy to improve the country’s young players in a strange way of the Chinese Football Federation.


October 2 was described by Chinese netizens as the end of the country after the Chinese Football Federation convened 55 players under 25 years of age playing in the highest Chinese League and China League One, after That focus on the training area is like military barracks.

At this point, the players have to concentrate until December, so they will miss the last six rounds of the Chinese Super League and many faces will be absent from the National Cup final. Some sources said that the group of players brought into the barracks will be trained according to military rules.

Trung Quoc ra luat la, dua 50 cau thu tre vao 'trai linh' hinh anh 1

There are also rumors that 55 players under the age of 25 will be summoned and sent to the barracks to be incorporated into a separate team, then compete in the next season. This move to improve the quality of Chinese youth football, which failed from the 2018 Asian U23 tournament to ASIAD 2018.

Some also see a list of 55 Chinese players summoned to the camp as Marcelo Lippi’s “second team” is leading the national team. I don’t know how effective the Chinese Football Federation is, but from now on, the online community is opposing this idea.

So, Chinese media also put a big question on how the Federation works. The Beijing Evening News called the action “truly unprecedented in history”. Meanwhile, the chairman of some teams with players who were sent to the barracks also expressed their discontent.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Trung Quốc ra luật lạ, đưa 50 cầu thủ trẻ vào 'trại lính'

“I believe the roots of Chinese football problems are still in the management system. The only way for Chinese football to develop is to change the existing management system,” Chairman Zhou Jinhui of Beijing Club. Guoan criticized the Chinese Football Federation’s plan.

Last time, Chinese football constantly reformed to raise the level of football development. They introduced many new laws to be applied in the domestic league to increase the chances of playing for U23 players, including Guus Hiddink, one of the outstanding strategists of the world football, leading the youth team.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Trung Quốc ra luật lạ, đưa 50 cầu thủ trẻ vào 'trại lính'

Last year, British media reported that the Chinese Football Federation has made great efforts to invest in young football training. They built many modern academies in the hope of producing talented players. China wants to “turn dragons” in the future, thus becoming the world’s superpower football.

However, Soccer News journalist Bai Guohua still feels pessimistic. He thinks Chinese football is still far behind the giants in the continent. Previously, the Chinese team was only once reached the World Cup finals. It was a tournament that took place in 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The battle against criminals in our politics is not over yet

The campaign for decriminalization of politics is high on the national agenda. The role of judiciary and civil society in highlighting the menace of criminalization and ways to curb the trend has been historic. The order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on March 10, 2014 has very long range impact in terms of remedy. The bench headed by Justice RM Lodha of Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered for expediting the proceedings against sitting MPs and MLAs in criminal cases and has further set a deadline for trial court to complete the hearing of the cases within a year of framing of charges.

It has further provided that the trial court need to give explanation to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court if the trial is not completed within a year. The bench observed that the proceedings should be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to decide the case within the prescribed time limit.

If effectively implemented, this order has far reaching consequences in cleansing the politics of the country. Firstly, it would deter the criminals from seeking tickets as this would expose them to the prescribed limit of one year for the judicial verdict on the charges. Secondly, the political parties who are sensitive to the number game in terms of capturing power would shy away from taking risk of giving tickets to candidates with criminal background as any conviction of sitting MLA/MP would result in vacancy in the State Assembly and in the Parliament as the case may be which could directly impact the tenuous majority of the ruling party. The judgment of March 10, 2014 has come at a very opportune time as the parties are actively engaged in selecting candidates for forthcoming elections to Parliament and few State Assemblies

The Public Interest Litigation was filed by an NGO, Public Interest Foundation in 2010-11. This PIL was admitted on grounds that the entry of criminals amounts to coercion in the electoral process and the free exercise of vote and ultimate choice is compromise. The petition has made four prayers. Firstly, it sought relief for the issuance of guidelines to ensure that those charges with serious criminal offences are disqualified to contest the elections to Parliament and State Legislature. Second prayer was for laying down six months time period for judicial determination of the chargesheet by the competent court. Thirdly, direction to the Government for enacting appropriate legislation so as to debar those charged with serious criminal offences contesting elections and lastly, declare the provisions of section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 as unconstitutional.

The interested parties, i.e. Election Commission of India and the Union Government were given due notice by the apex court. Fortunately, the Election Commission concurred with the prayer made in the PIL. However, the Union of India did not play ball with the campaign against decriminalization and raised preliminary objection that the prayer falls in the domain of parliamentary legislation as policy matter and cannot be heard by Hon’ble Supreme Court. However, the bench of the apex court was sensitive to the cause and sought the recommendations the Law Commission on the issue of disqualification once the charge sheet is framed and the penalty under section 125A of RPA, 1951 in cases where falls affidavit is filed by the candidate. The Law Commission gave its recommendation to the apex court.

In order to appreciate the cancerous feature of our democracy, few statistical details would be sufficient for a diagnostic conclusion. In the 15th Lok Sabha constituted in 2009, 162 Lok Sabha MPs out of a strength of 543, had serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and rape. As per the ADR report, the average pendency of these criminal cases has been seven years. Alarmingly, there were pending cases between 20-29 years on nine MPs. This would be sufficient to conclude that muscle and money power has played important role in the spread of the cancer and also in the obstruction of justice. In this regard, section 8(4) of the RPA, 1951 only added fuel to the fire. It perpetuated the continuity of even convicted legislators. This section provided that the convicted legislator would not be disqualified where revision/application has been preferred within three months from the date of conviction judgment.

Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment of 10 July 2013 gave a death blow to the protection under section 8(4). In the case of Union of India vs. Lily Thomas, it declared the provisions of 8(4) as unconstitutional and debarred elected representatives from continuing in office upon conviction. The order of March 10, 2014 has to be appreciated in the background of the earlier judgment as it now sets a time limit on judicial determination of the charge sheeted representative. However, the battle is not finished yet. The political parties may continue to field candidates with serious criminal cases because of their winnability factor. The gross misuse of muscle power and money can still prolong the time period between investigation and filing of the chargesheet. Thus, it would be seriously compromise the intent of the judgment dated July 10, 2013 mentioned earlier and also the order of March 10, 2014. The first prayer of the PIL is the panacea for curbing the entry of criminals in politics. It seeks that any person charge sheeted with serious and heinous offences attracting a sentence of five years or more should be debarred from contesting election. This has been strongly recommended by Justice Verma Committee report on Amendments to Criminal Law (January 23, 2013). In this battle, the civil society must lead. Even the order of March 10, 2014 can only be effectively implemented if the watchfull eyes of the civil society is able to keep track on the progress of the judicial proceedings.

By (N. Misra is ex-Chairman, TRAI and Director, Public Interest Foundation; Email: director@publicinterestfoundation.com

(This article was published in Indian Express on 25 March, 2014 and Dainik Bhaskar on 25 March 2014 )

No place for Doubting Thomases in the State Funding for elections

In a parliamentary democracy the citizens have the political rights constitutionally ensured to make all important choice in government formation by participating in the election process.  The role of political parties is critical as they mobilize public support on their ideology, programme and promises.  The scale of support is manifested through election process. Political parties also perform the important function of informing and educating the citizens about the performance of the government including their shortcomings.

The Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951 makes it mandatory for any association or body of individuals calling itself a political party to make an application to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its registration.  The sole reference to political parties in the Constitution of India features in the Tenth Schedule, which deals with the disqualification of a person for being a member of either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assembly/Council on grounds of defection.   The RPA, 1951 is the primary law regulating elections in the country.  It is important to make appropriate provision in our Constitution and the RPA, 1951 to facilitate effective regulation of parties by the ECI.  We may perhaps refer to the German law which recognizes the political parties in the formation of political will of the people and requires an internal democracy within the party and transparency in accounting assets and expenditure concerning the party activity.

Political funding is crucial to sustain the activities of any political party.  The expenditure relating to election alone may be termed as campaign finance. This article embraces the term campaign funding to imply the part of the campaign finance funded by the State.  Campaign funding is for conducting competitive election campaign and finance various election related activities in a time frame prescribed by the ECI.  Campaign finance refers to all funds that are raised and spent in order to promote candidates, parties or policies in the electoral contest.  Funds mobilized for elections have a significant impact on the electoral outcome.  Little wonder then that the so-called level playing field of an election arena is heavily tilted towards those who have the deep pockets to influence electoral success.

Political parties raise funds from both private and public sources.  The candidates in the electoral fray also raise funds, sometimes through questionable means.  There is a growing nexus between the political parties and the corporate, organized mafia and other nefarious entities.  The donations to the political parties and the candidates are often in the expectation of quid pro quo which invariably is not in national interest.  The obvious appended hazard is the unsavory role of black money.

State funding of election campaign is often dismissed on the basis of an argument that it will only be a drop in the ocean of corruption.  But to allow this limitation to discourage any proposal on the subject might hamper the larger cause of democracy in the long run.  Funding of election campaign may not right away dismantle the already established nexus between the political parties and their “donors”, but in the long term a step in this direction will surely have a role to play in snapping the ties of allegiance between these formidable companions pumping black money in the system. State support to campaign funding has generated strong “for and against” views in India.   Almost all the government committees formed on the issue of electoral reforms deliberated on the issue of campaign funding but fell short of coming to any concrete policy consensus which could then be tested in terms of ground reality through execution.  There have been significant proposals on the subject from civil society members who have pro-actively advocated for election funding.

Public Interest Foundation (PIF) through in-house research, supplemented with discussions with like-minded NGOs, as well as the intellectual think tanks, has evolved a feasible minimalistic framework of campaign funding for adoption and expeditious implementation. The scheme in tabular form is annexed.

As per the scheme, the administration of campaign funding will be entrusted to the ECI, who would operate the earmarked funds through a designated account for the purpose.  The funds would be non-lapsable. The fund would be created through transfers from the Union Government.  The decision of ECI on the subject of campaign funding will be final.  The Commission needs to be delegated powers to frame rules under the RPA, 1951 for the purpose.  The pattern will be same for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.  However, it will be advisable to implement the scheme on a pilot basis in next Lok Sabha elections.

Campaign funding is not to be viewed as the expenditure related to various activities of the political parties; it is restricted to the elections only.  The ECI will make the disbursement in two stages.  The first disbursement would be made to the political party immediately after the notification of election date.  The second disbursement to the candidates would be made in two installments; first immediately after the acceptance of valid nomination form and the second after the election results. The disbursement to the candidates has been furnished in two installments to prevent non-serious candidates from siphoning of the state funding and to ensure that the funds provided to the candidate is in congruence with the valid votes polled.

The first disbursement of the fund to the political parties will be restricted to the recognized national and state parties.  The financial payout by ECI would be regulated on a scale of payment of Rs. 10 against each vote polled in favour of those party candidates whose deposit was not forfeited in the previous election for the same assembly or the parliamentary constituency as the case may be.  The total amount received by the political party as campaign fund would then be distributed to the prospective candidates who have been given official symbol.   Thus, the start-up expenditure would enable the candidates to fund their campaign in a fair and transparent manner.  The suggestion to fund the national and state parties is in the interest of ensuring built-in accountability and regulating spurious contestants. To discourage fragmentation of political parties, it is desirable to raise the benchmark for recognition of national and state parties. In the words of Chief Justice Altmas Kabir, “To gain recognition as a political party, a party has to prove itself and to establish its credibility as a serious player in the political arena of the state”.

The second stage of disbursement will be in two installments.  The payment of first installment will be made to all the candidates whose nomination form has been found valid after scrutiny and withdrawal.  The entitlement would be estimated on the basis of total electorate in the constituency. The value would be monetized on a scale of rupees ten per voter in the electoral list.  Each candidate would be given 1% of the total value as the first installment. The rationale for monetizing the electoral list is linked with the size of the constituency and efforts involved in reaching out to the electorate.  The second installment payment of stage two will be made post-election on the basis of counting and result declaration.  The eligibility for reimbursement would be restricted to the candidates who have secured at least 1/6th of the valid votes polled, i.e. those candidates whose security deposit has not been forfeited.  The payment to all such eligible candidates would be on the basis of rupees ten per valid votes polled in favour of the candidate.  The performance based reimbursement suggested is largely to ensure level playing field for all the candidates, and it is hoped that a healthy trend in the electoral politics towards a responsible party based system would gradually evolve.

Compliance of transparent account standards as may be prescribed by ECI would be a pre-condition for any disbursement.  Both the political party and the candidate would be required to maintain a separate bank account for the campaign funding.  This account would also be used for all the donations made either to the candidates or to the political party by private/corporate sources.

For any proposal on campaign funding to not become another breeding ground for more unaccounted money flowing into electoral process, it is critical to enforce the existing provision on contributions and disclosure, and strengthen them to adequately ensure that they are less susceptible to corrupt practices. Sections 77 and 78 of the RPA combined with section 10A state the compulsory provisions for the maintenance and time-bound filling of election expenses by every candidate, failing which the candidate would be disqualified from contesting election for a period of three years.  Through the extension of the purview of Section 10A of the RPA, following the Supreme Court judgment in the case L.R. Shivaramangowde vs. T.M. Chandrashekhar – AIR 1999 SC 252, three years disqualification of a candidate from contesting elections is valid even in case the accounts of election expenses filled by his/her is found to be incorrect or untrue by the ECI.  Moreover, this disqualification of three years should also apply to the candidates who may have been sworn in as elected representative on the basis of election results.  It is also proposed that the scrutiny by ECI about correctness of accounts filed should be completed in 120 days so as to minimize any form of uncertainty and political instability.

These provisions for disclosure of election expenses as detailed by the RPA, Section 77, 78, 10A for individual candidates seem comprehensive, but for the fact that it does not provide for a similar practice to be followed by the political parties should be considered a major lacuna.  The parties play a significant role in financing the election campaigns of their candidates. Moreover, given that in PIF’s proposal a significant amount of the first stage of campaign funding will be made available through the political party organization, stringent legal provision necessitating disclosure on election expenses by political party organization needs to be an important pre-requisite subject to satisfactory compliance of ECI directions on accounts keeping and audit.

Under section 29C of RPA all registered political parties are legally bound to file an annual report on all contribution received in excess of rupees twenty thousand with the ECI. A similar requirement from individual candidates under law will further strengthen the cause of transparency on contributions. Moreover the contribution limit requiring compulsory reporting  by both individual candidates as well as political party organisation should be brought down to rupees five hundred in order to facilitate maximal contributions to come within the purview of accounted money. Thus all contributions Rs. 500/- may be accepted by cheque only. Contributions below Rs. 500/- may be accepted in cash, but all donations must provide details of the donor in a format as may be prescribed by ECI.  However the fact that failure to file these accounts on contributions is not backed by strong enough deterrent, in the form of disciplinary powers to the ECI for non-compliance, weakens the overall provision and thus calls for immediate redressal. It is necessary that wrong disclosures or non-compliance of filing accounts entail severe punishment. Both ECI and IT (Income Tax) authorities will have access to the accounting details and conduct detailed scrutiny to ascertain the correctness of the disclosures made.  Parties which do not submit annual audited statements may be de-recognised and de-registered or both as the case may be.

Additionally every candidate shall disclose his/her income and assets along with those of his/her family members as defined at the time of nomination.  Every registered political party will be required to submit annual audited financial statement to ECI as is necessary binding on them under Rule 3(xix)) under Article VIII of the Guidelines and Application Format for Registration of Political Parties under Section 29A of the RPA, issued by ECI. Moreover, there shall be compulsory annual disclosure of income and assets of elected legislators.  False or incomplete disclosure by Members of Parliament may invite deterrent penalty including disqualification by the Speaker of the Lower House or the Presiding Chairman of the Upper House.

In the absence of provision for an effective auditing of the accounts relating to election expenditure by the party or the candidates, the entire framework of filing returns would be rendered futile.  Therefore, the compulsory auditing of these accounts should be entrusted to the auditors recommended by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which necessarily provides for a scope of cross-checking all reports submitted to both ECI and IT authorities. In addition all these accounts on election expenditure, contributions, assets as well as annual financial statements filed by both candidates and political parties submitted to the ECI should be made available for the information of the public within six months of the end of the financial year in the public domain.

Ceiling on election expenditure is another important feature which deserves review in the Indian context.  The role of black money in elections is well known.  The election expenditure for Lok Sabha election is Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 5 crores as revealed informally by contesting candidates.  Therefore, any ceiling on election expenditure will be theoretical and the elected representative begins his stint on a heap of lies.  If ceiling on election expenditure is not officially regulated, the candidate may furnish the information close to the truth.  Earlier ceiling was considered necessary to discourage role of black money and electoral rigging.  It has not served the purpose.  Therefore, the ceiling on election expenditure may be dispensed with.  The US system in fact does not have any limits set on election expenditure.  Once we have stricter norms for disclosure of expenditure and effective scrutiny of accounts, the objective would be met in a fair and transparent manner.

To assess the likely burden on the central exchequer toward state funding, an empirical exercise taking the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as the reference point was undertaken. The stage one disbursement to the recognized national and state political parties at the rate of rupees ten against each vote polled in their favour excluding the candidates whose deposits were forfeited in the previous election, i.e. the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, has been observed to be approximately Rs. 364 crores. Based on the information, the disbursement to various recognized national and state parties ranged between Rs. 103 crores (INC) and Rs. 5.4 crores (CPI). The second stage of payment in the scheme is in two parts. The candidates whose nominations are found valid would have received an average of Rs. 1.3 lakhs and has been estimated at Rs. 107 crores as total cost. The second installment of the payment due to all candidates securing more than 1/6th of the valid votes has been summed to be Rs.418 crores at all India level. Translated into average disbursement, it came to Rs. 34 lakhs per candidate except few constituencies where the total electorate is very small. There will be no need to raise revenue through any alternative source of cess or new taxes. It is feasible to meet the expenditure of campaign funding by reducing the entitlements to MPs and MLAs under various Local Area Development Schemes. It is estimated that candidates of recognized national and state parties are thus benefited by an average of about  Rs. 35-40 lakhs in the scheme, in addition to other existing privileges like free electorate sheet and free time slot in Doordarshan for propagating the manifesto of the national and state parties.

Every time the issue of state funding of election cannot be put on a hold based on the argument that political party reforms should take precedence over it.  State funding of elections as an agenda is important for a growing democracy claiming equality of opportunity for all its citizens. Moreover, taking a long-term perspective on the issue, the availability of state subvention for campaign funding will sure go on to weaken the sole dependence on private funding.  The current deadlock on the issue of state funding of election inevitably requires simultaneous attempts to cease the impasse. These attempts could demonstrate minimalistic yet critical progression in the broader adoption of election reforms as a whole in the long haul.

PIF’s Proposal on State Subvention to Campaign Funding of Elections:

CRITERION PROPOSAL OF PIF LEGAL PROVISION THAT NEEDS STRENGTHENING/AMENDMENT
Scope
  • Limited to campaign funding of elections
  • No ceiling on election expenditure
  • Applicable to both parliamentary as well as assembly elections
  • Implementation on pilot basis in parliamentary election

 

Requires amendment to Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951, Part V, Chapter VIII, Section 77. Also amendment to the Model Conduct of Elections Rules,1961
Administrating agency
  • Election Commission of India (ECI ) along with the support of State Election Commissions

 

This can be enabled through an administrative order by Union government under the Model Conduct of Elections Rules,1961.It may also be incorporated in RPA, 1951
Corpus to fund the state subvention to campaign finance
  • Creation of a permanent corpus called ‘consolidated fund for election’
  • Corpus to be managed by ECI
  • This non-lapsable corpus will be funded from consolidated fund of India

 

Requires amendment to RPA, 1951, Part V, Chapter VIII
Scheme STAGE 1 (Payment to Political Parties)

  • Only recognised national and state parties based on the results of the previous elections
  • Payment of rupees ten against each vote polled in favour of all those candidates from recognised national and state parties whose deposit was not forfeited in previous election
  • This fund to be appropriately distributed amongst the candidates with party symbol

STAGE 2 (Payment to Candidates)

INSTALLMENT 1:

  • Payable to all candidates whose nomination held valid after scrutiny and withdrawal of nominations
  • To be made directly to the candidates of all parties and also those contesting as independent
  • Amount due to each such candidate would be 1% x (Total number of electorate of that constituency x rupees ten)

INSTALLMENT 2

  • Payment will be performance based reimbursement post elections based on election results of the polls
  • Directly to the candidates
  • Only threshold criterion would be that the candidates should have secured atleast 1/6thof the valid votes polled, i.e. those candidates whose security deposit was not forfeited
  • Amount due to each eligible candidates would be calculated at the rate of rupees ten against each vote polled in favour of such eligible candidates
Requires amendment to Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951, Part V, Chapter VIII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-conditions for disbursement
  • In the Election expenditure statement all political parties to submit their audited annual financial report to ECI within 60 days of the end of each financial year
  • Separate bank account of political parties and eligible candidates for the purpose of election expenditure
  • All other contributions, in addition to state subvention in regards to election expense to be received in this particular account
  • All transactions of this account to be reported
  • This bank account to be linked to UID to facilitate tracking of any illegitimate money transactions
  • Complete disclosure on all contributions received by both party and candidates
  • Complete disclosure on all election expenditure made by both party and candidates to ECI within 30 days after elections

 

Requires amendment & strengthening of Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 29C 

 

Requires amendment to Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 77,78, 10A

 

 

Strengthening of Rule 3(xix)) under Article VIII of the Guidelines and Application Format for Registration of Political Parties under Section 29A of the RPA, issued by ECI

Disclosure On Contributions:

  • To be filed by both political parties and candidates with the ECI
  • Contributions above Rs.500 to be made by cheque
  • All contributions must provide details of the donor in the format prescribed by ECI
  • Besides disqualification for state-funding of elections, other strong civil and criminal punitive measures to be introduced for non-compliance
  • Providing powers to ECI for de-recognition, de-registration  in addition to withdrawal of IT exemption for punishing non-compliance on disclosure of all contribution by both political parties and individual candidates

On Election Expenditure:

  • To be disclosed by both political parties and individual candidates with the ECI within 30 days
  • Non disclosure by individual candidates is punishable under law with disqualification from contesting of elections for three years
  • Similar requirement and provision for compliance from political parties on all expenditure expenses backed with legal sanctions
  • In case disqualification for three years is declared by ECI, then this disqualification should stand valid even if this candidate has already won and taken oath in the lok sabha or state assembly
  • ECI to certify the correctness of the election expenditure accounts submitted in a time-bound manner within 120 days
  • No reimbursement towards campaign funding in  cases of non-compliance on true, time-bound filing of election expenses by both political parties and individual candidates

On Asset Statement:

  • Every candidate shall disclose his/her income and assets along with those of his/her family members in the new format for filing of affidavit effective from 2011 at the time of filing nominations.  False or incomplete disclosure may invite deterrent penalty including disqualification
  • Every Member of Parliament to compulsorily file annual disclosure on income and assets to the Speaker of the Lower House or the Presiding Chairman of the Upper House of elected legislators.  Non-compliance may invite deterrent penalty to be decided by the presiding authority

 

 

Requires strengthening and amendment to Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 29C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requires amendment to Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 77,78, 10A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requires amendment to RPA, 1951, Section 33A

Requires strengthening and amendment to the Members of Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and

Liabilities) Rules,2004

 

Requires strengthening and amendment to the Members of Rajya Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities)

Rules, 2004

Audit requirements
  • Compulsory auditing of all accounts/disclosures on assets, contributions as well as annual financial statements by both political parties as well as individual candidates should be entrusted to the auditors recommended by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)

 

Public Information
  • All these accounts on election expenditure and contribution filed by both candidates and political parties to be placed in public domain
  • To be done within six months of the end of the financial year by ECI

 

Requires strengthening of Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 33A
Projected Expenditure & Deficit
  • Total expenditure incurred under this model as per the information available on Lok Sabha elections  2009 is approximately  Rs. 1000 cr.

(This article was published in Business Standard on 30th December, 2012 and 6th January, 2013)

Perils of a prolonged election schedule

The election schedule for parliamentary elections as announced by Election Commission of India (ECI) on 5 March 2014 has raised serious issues regarding the efficiency, cost and prolonged period of administrative paralysis. It also needs to be tested from the equity point of view in terms of equal opportunity to all the contesting parties in a deepening fractious polity. Election notification from the ECI began on 14 March 2014. The last notification for polling was on 17 April 2014. The poll has been scheduled in nine phases beginning 7 April 2014 to 12 May 2014 with the counting to take place on 16 May 2014. Thus, a total period of 72 days will be taken in the completion of parliamentary elections.

Near paralysis in governance

The model code of conduct becomes effective once the election is notified. Effectively both the State and the Union Governments informally move into slow pace of governance. Any new decisions either in terms of investment or other forms of policy initiative are not taken if such a decision is likely to impact the results of the election. The bureaucracy loath to any form of risk adopts wait and watch mode. The ministers and other key political functionaries get busy in their respective constituencies with little time for any disposal of serious official matters. The truth is that the Government functioning comes to a halt except minimum necessary maintenance though the ECI keeps clarifying that there is no stoppage of normal activities. It also impacts the foreign policy, as of other countries governments decide to postpone any engagement till the next government is installed. The security matters in some respects also get affected as procurement decisions in the Defence Ministry do not get easy passage.

Implications

Such a long duration of electoral process adversely affects the campaign efforts of political parties. Given a very live and vibrant media, it is difficult to escape from the whispering campaign. Though exit polls are banned, yet election prospects get reported indirectly signaling the party better placed to romp home. The disinformation campaign is at its peak and the confused voter further gets bewildered.

The cost involved in conducting the election process is huge. Firstly, it is near impossible for the candidates to restrict the expenditure within the ceiling prescribed for the parliamentary elections. Longer the period greater will be the violation of the expenditure ceiling. The truth becomes the major casualty. It also costs the exchequer very heavily. The polling in 1984 for parliamentary elections was in three phases with approximate expenditure of Rs. 82 crore. Since then it has been escalating and there is a fair estimate that the expenditure on conducting the current parliamentary elections would cross the thousand crore mark.

Scheduling process and remedy

It is appreciated that the schedule for the election is determined in consultation with Home Ministry and other agencies responsible for law and order and internal security. The State Government are also consulted. The agencies responsible for mobilizing police forces are under strain and favour prolonged election schedule so that the forces are ale to move from one corner of the country to the other. However, there is a need for moderation and more efficient deployment so as to complete the responsibility in shorter span of time and thus resume normal law and order/maintenance activity.

A quick glance to the schedule of election would make a strong case for shorter span of electoral process. Barring third, fifth and sixth phase, which account for 331 parliamentary constituencies, the remaining parliamentary constituencies could be easily be accommodated in two more phases. After all, there is no case for first, second, fourth and ninth phase with 6, 7, 5 and 41 parliamentary constituencies respectively only. The feasibility of holding of about 100 parliamentary constituencies in one phase is well within the practical limits. It should be possible to ensure free and fair elections within five phases in a time span of about three weeks.

The experience of other countries should guide ECI for keeping a bare minimum duration for elections. South Africa, UK, US have one day poll. Brazil and France, who have run off dates on account of proportional representation, conclude in a shorter period barring campaignperiod for final results than in India.

Clubbing of Assembly elections

There is another and more serious aspect to the electoral process. The Assembly and Parliamentary elections do not necessarily coincide due to constitutional and electoral provisions. The country is always in an election mode. To say the least, it distracts our focus from growth and development to totally unproductive, acrimonious and extraneous agenda. During 2012-13, 11 Assembly elections in different States were held. Again, in the last quarter of the current year, elections are scheduled in three to four States. While it is appreciated that a co-terminious elections of Assembly and Parliament will require constitutional amendment, it should be possible for the ECI to club the elections of States with the parliamentary elections in cases where they become due either before or after in a span of six months of Parliament elections. This would at least curtail significantly the “tamasha” of elections and the nation would focus more on the agenda of growth.

Democracy is the lifeline of our nation. It is the foundation of our constitutional fabric. Electoral process is a means to established democratic institutional framework. With the rising cost of elections and ever increasing stakes in capturing power, the longer duration of election process has negative impact and does not strengthen the cause of democracy, which it professes to promote.

Democracy is the lifeline of our nation. It is the foundation of our constitutional fabric. Electoral process is a means to established democratic institutional framework. With the rising cost of elections and ever increasing stakes in capturing power, the longer duration of election process has negative impact and does not strengthen the cause of democracy, which it professes to promote.

By Writer is former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
And presently Director, Public Interest Foundation
e-mail: Director@publicinterestfoundation.com

(This article was published in The Economic Times on 13 May, 2014)