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Let taxpayers fund political parties with democracy cess: CII

Delhi,Business/Economy,Politics, Tue, 17 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has proposed imposition of a "democracy cess", according to which individuals and corporates can give 0.2 percent of their income tax to any political party of their choice for funding its activities and elections.


The CII task force on electoral reforms presented its report to poll panel chief S.Y. Quraishi here Tuesday, recommending that "the cess should be paid directly by the tax payer by cheque into the account of any political party of his or her choice recognized by the Election Commission".


"All income tax payers in the country including corporates, traders, individuals, institutions, organizations, trusts and societies should give 0.2 percent of their income tax for funding political activity and elections," the report said.


It also suggests that full amount of the cess or part thereof to the extent not paid to any political party could be paid by the government as part of income tax payment that "could accrue to an electoral or political pool fund, which the Election Commission could utilize to support legitimate political activity".


"The option of giving to one or more parties or to the pool fund should be that of the income tax payer."


Later speaking at the CII's annual general meeting, Quraishi lauded the judiciary, specially the Supreme Court in arming the poll panel with powers that ensured free and fair elections in various parts of the country.


"The quality of systems and democracy is the key to good governance. It is important that the mandate of the people is free of all interference and manipulation," said Quraishi adding that there were attempts all the time to pollute the system.


Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar who also spoke on the occasion highlighted the difference between two forms of corruption - "petty corruption and grand corruption".


"Petty corruption," he said, "was rampant everywhere from government offices to corporate India and it made services which were a right for citizens, many times more costly for them."


"Grand corruption, on the other hand, manifested itself in big-ticket favouritism in allotment of natural resources to companies which was evident from the recent 2G scam," said Kumar, calling for wider use of technology and lower human interface in dealings to reduce corruption in everyday life.


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