Unlimited corporate funding subverts democracy: CPI-M

New Delhi, The Modi government seems to be facilitating a corporate takeover of parliamentary democracy and the political system, the CPI-M has said.

An editorial in its journal “People’s Democracy” said the government had taken another surreptitious step to harness corporate funding for the BJP and to subject the political system to the sway of big money.

While presenting the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the government would introduce “electoral bonds” to fund political parties.

Thus, anyone wanting to contribute money to a political party can, through a bank, purchase a bond for a specified amount. This can then be put into the account of a political party.

The donor’s identity will not be revealed. The political party also need not identify to the Income Tax Department from whom they received the bond.

“Such an anonymous transfer of fund through bearer bonds will facilitate big money, including black money, being laundered through electoral bonds to political parties,” the editorial said.

Now, companies can give funds to political parties up to 7.5 percent of the average of the net profits earned in the last three financial years.

An amendment was brought to remove this limit of 7.5 percent.

Secondly, the current law provides for disclosure of the name of the political party to which the company makes the contribution. The amendment has sought to do away with this too.

“The net result of this amendment, which has now been adopted by the Lok Sabha, is that companies can give unlimited amounts of money as contribution to a political party,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

“The limit of 7.5 percent of the net profit has been removed, nor will the company accounts have to show to which party the donation has been made.

“This will open the way for companies to be set up to funnel unaccounted money to a particular political party.”

The CPI-M said this change had been made to facilitate corporate funding to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Companies will have now the incentive to provide huge contributions to the ruling party to earn its favour.

“The ruling party has another advantage… Though the identity of the company or donor will not be disclosed publicly, the government will have the means to find out the details of such donations as bank data can be accessed through governmental authorities.

“No company or big donor will risk the ire of the ruling party and government by giving donations to the opposition parties,” it said.

The editorial added: “The Modi government has also opened the way for legitimising bribery and corruption. (It) has opened the floodgates for corporate money flowing into the ruling party’s coffers.

“The Modi government seems to be facilitating a corporate takeover of parliamentary democracy and the political system, in full connivance with the Hindutva forces.”