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Report No. 255

(d) On State Funding of Elections

1. Currently, a system of complete state funding of elections or of matching grants, wherein the government matches the private funding (by donors or corporates) raised by political parties, are not feasible given the economic conditions and developmental problems of the country.

2. Given the high cost of elections and the improbability of being able to replace the actual demand for money, the existing system of giving indirect in-kind subsidies instead of giving money via a National Election Fund, should continue.

3. The wording of Section 78B of the RPA permits the Central Government, in consultation with the ECI, to supply certain items to the electors or the candidates and this provision can be used to expand the in-kind subsidy to include free public meeting rooms, certain printing costs, free postage etc.

4. Any reform in state funding should be preceded by reforms such as the decriminalisation of politics, the introduction of inner party democracy, electoral finance reform, transparency and audit mechanisms, and stricter implementation of anti-corruption laws so as to reduce the incentive to raise money and abuse power.

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