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EC against state funding of polls

EC against state funding of polls
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New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is not in favour of state funding of elections as it will not be able to prohibit or check candidates own expenditure over and above provided for by states, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said the ECI's view is that for addressing the real issues, there have to be radical changes in the provisions regarding receipts of funds by political parties and the manner in which such funds are spent by them so as to provide for complete transparency in the matter. "The Election Commission has informed the Government that it is not in favour of

State Funding as it will not be able to prohibit or check candidates own expenditure or expenditure by others over and above that which is provided

for by the state," the minister said.

Thakur further said that in order to discourage cash transactions and bring in transparency in the sources of funding of political parties, the government has amended the Income Tax Act and limited anonymous cash donations to Rs 2,000.

The government introduced the 'Electoral Bond Scheme 2018' to establish a transparent political funding system in the country with well established audit trail.

In another reply, he said the number of assessees filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) has consistently increased during each of the last three years as well as in the current year.

As per the data provided by him, the total number of e-returns (excluding revised returns) were 5.18 crore in assessment year 2016-17 and 6.35 crore during Assessment Year (up to Feb 15, 2020).

The belated returns of AY 2019-20 can be submitted up to March 31, 2020, therefore, this number will increase further, the minister said.

Thakur said the Income Tax Department has implemented the Non-Filers Monitoring System (NMS) which assimilates and analyses in-house information as well as transactional data received from third parties to identify such persons/entities who have undertaken high value financial transactions but have not filed their returns.

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