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Report No. 255

F. State Funding of Elections

2.29.1. In many countries around the world, the role of big money in elections (and the associated charges of bribing, capture, lobbying, and institutional corruption) has sought to be reduced through public funding of elections. In India too, the idea of state funding has been proposed to reduce the unending increase in the cost of elections (and create a more level playing field) and to curb corruption and the influence of black money. Nevertheless, despite similar proposals in India, there is currently no direct public funding of elections.

2.29.2. However, the 2003 Amendment to the RPA introduced Sections 39A of the RPA to provide for partial in-kind subsidy in the form of allocation of equitable sharing of airtime on cable television networks and other electronic media (based on past performance); and Sections 78A, and 78B for the free supply of copies of electoral rolls and certain other items.

It is pertinent to note that no rules for operationalization for the sharing of airtime on private media have been finalised under Section 39A.111 On 14th March 2014, the ECI issued an order bearing No. 437/TVs/2014(LS) to extend the scheme of equitable time sharing through the Prasar Bharti Corporation, namely Doordarshan and All India Radio for the forthcoming General Elections to the recognised six National parties and 47 State parties and not to independent candidates.112

111. Gowda, supra note 94, at 230.

112. ECI, Telecast/Broadcast Facility to Political Parties During Elections, No. 437/TVs/2014(LS), 14th March 2014,

2.29.3. Such legislative provisions are a consequence of our history of reform proposals on state funding of elections, which are described in the section below.

Electoral Reforms Back

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