Bring Indian Political Parties Under The Scope Of RTI
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On 8 November 2016, the Government of India announced the demonetisation of all ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series. It was thought that if cash was squeezed out, the black economy would be completely eliminated. But cash forms only 1% of the total black wealth. By now, 98.8% of demonetised currency has come back to the Reserve Bank of India. But still no signs of the black money that was supposed to be squeezed out?
Let me put this to you in simple words - If bringing out black money was the intention of demonetisation, not even 0.01% of that has been eliminated.
We believed that demonetisation will solve the problem of black money. We, the common Indians, stood in long queues to submit demonetised notes. We, the common Indians, are being harassed and ordered to account for every penny. Regardless, it is distressing to see how the funding for national political parties have gone unaccounted inspite of having declared a staggering total income of Rs 9278.3 crore between FY 2004-05 and FY2014-15. Source
We believed that the political funding reforms proposed in the Union Budget by the finance minister would bring more transparency and accountability in the political funding. However, it turned out to be a ruse designed to evade the real issue of bringing complete transparency in political funding through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Transparency forms the foundations of a democracy, and we, the common people of India, must secure our Indian democracy by demanding transparency in the funding of political parties. The Constitution of India derives its authority from the people, and the political parties are supposed to be accountable to the masses whom they claim to represent.
A few months ago, the Supreme Court of India turned down a plea to make it mandatory for parties to declare source of funds. However, it serves as an excellent excuse for the political parties to relinquish the responsibility of bringing transparency in their funds and finances.
When more than three fourths of the Lok Sabha MPs are multi-millionaires, and more than one-third have a criminal past, it is the right of we, the Citizens of India, to demand transparency. There are more than 1,848 registered political parties and they misuse the law to hold unaccounted money. As advocate M L Sharma rightly says, "Political parties are supposed to be main chest of the black money in the country'. But till date, no investigation, search or enquiry has been conducted against any political party as they are in power to control all investigation systems. Political parties may have differences over public policies, but there seems to be a strong consensus when it comes to opposing the RTI.
As a common man of India, I request all Indians to join forces and demand transparency in political funding through the RTI. Since its inception, the RTI Act has been used to expose big scams like the Adarsh Housing Society scam, 2G scam and the corruption around the Commonwealth Games.
I am just a common Indian, like each one of you reading this petition, with dreams and goals of my own, and immense love towards our motherland which all of us share. As a honest tax-payer and a responsible citizen, I long to see transparency in political fundings. I cannot spread the idea far and wide alone. However, I humbly request you, the common people of India to realize the power that vests within you and spread this idea for transparency far and wide. Only when we, the people, strive for change can the Indian democracy be secured, as transparency forms the basic premise on which a democracy operates. Let us all unite together and make this a success. It is high time that we, the common citizens of India, ask the right questions and bring about change before it is too late.
For the love of our motherland,
Nitin Pillai, The Common Indian
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