New Delhi: 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.