Please do not allow anonymous and unlimited corporate funding for political parties.

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The latest Finance Bill 2017 that has been passed in Loksabha, which now allows anonymous and unlimited corporate funding for political parties. This increases the chances of corporations to influence India’s public policy like never before. This means India’s fate will be in the pockets of few wealthy and profit-pursuing companies, and not in the hands of its common people? Democracy will have to give way to influence of money.

Naturally, in democracies, we are all sometimes like or dislike the policies passed by our public representatives and, after a few discussions with friends and on social media, eventually forget as we get busy with our daily lives. But this particular one, is very different in my view – it might hamper our founding principles of democracy!

Allowing corporate entities to donate anonymously and with no limits may shake the roots of our democracy (The democracy that we are all proud of, the democracy that our founding fathers dreamt of and the probably finest democracy in entire continent – and  the largest  in the world). 

When we got an Independence, almost every other nation/leaders at a time were sceptical about sustainability and scalability of our democracy, but people of India have sustained it with great pride & we have proven to the world that the democracy is in our DNA. And now the worry is that, new policy of anonymous donations, may have toxic effects on our democracy. We cannot ignore this – We need raise our voices in all peaceful and democratic manners, so that law makers can hear us and re-discuss its causes and effects.

The Honourable Finance Minister justification is that “ Corporate's complain that if they reveal which party they've donated to, other political parties pressurise them to donate to them as well.”

While this may have a valid point, that this reason cannot supersede the people’s right to be aware of the full democratic electoral cycle, right from the funding process. It is every Indian citizen’s democratic right to know how political parties and electoral candidates that they are going to vote for, get their funds. So that they can make all round informed decisions while they vote.

 Here is what may happen if corporations are allowed to make unlimited and anonymous donations to political parties

 1.    It is highly likely that the politics will become more corporate-centric, rather than people centric.

2.    The People may have to now bow down to the rich corporate, which means chances of a common man attaining the highest positions in our country will be, ironically, limited. Ironic because our current Prime Minister and many in the past have risen to this position despite their non-privileged background(s), and it is all because of the beauty of our Indian democracy.

3.    On who should become public representatives might be decided in the board rooms of highly successful corporates.

4.    Some super rich corporates might even launch their own political parties indirectly,  in order to make their own policies, and  this could cause adversely impact the spirit of competitiveness in a fair business market.

5.      If there is no limit of corporate donations (earlier there was cap of 7. 5 percent of corporate entities average net profit), in theory corporates do not disclose the donations, but how far in practice that other political parties not aware or not get to know, how much an corporate entity donated to a particular political party? And thus if they know, the pressure on corporate entity will be much more higher than earlier as now there is no cap set. (isn’t this contradicts the justification given by Honourable Finance Minister?).

This petition is not against the any particular entity or political party or the Government –  this petition is against a policy that threatens the very fundamentals of our great democracy. I request everyone, irrespective of their party affiliation, if you feel that this amendment to the Finance Bill 2017 hampers our democracy, please sign this petition.

 Jai Hind.

NG Chindam

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