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India pledges to plug holes in political funding

India along with other South Asian partners has endorsed a joint pledge to clamp down on existing “loopholes” governing political finance in their common jurisdictions in order to combat on black money and other illegal inducements used during the electoral process.

The Election Commission (EC) has signed a “historic” joint record of discussions called ‘New Delhi Declaration 2015’ in this regard with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi saying that it will go “a long way” in further evolving political finance practises by the electoral management bodies working in the South Asian region. The two-day regional conference on the ‘Use of Money in Politics and Its Effects on People’s Representation’ concluded on Wednesday and was jointly organised by the EC and Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), an inter-governmental organisation working to strengthen democratic processes, especially elections in a democracy.

An official statement issued at the end of the conference said the participants came forward together and laid out a draft declaration. “The draft included recommendations on political finance regulations, how to close loopholes in the regulatory framework and coordinating efforts with all stakeholders. 

The declaration also provides guidance on how to ensure equal participation and recognises that women face particular obstacles created by money and access to funds,” it said.  It added that the declaration identifies “over-arching principles which are to be followed while making political finance regulations and major guidelines for implementation”.
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