What's rationale behind freebies, EC asks political parties : The Tribune India

What's rationale behind freebies, EC asks political parties

Seeks info on financial viability of pre-poll promises | Calls for response on proposals by Oct 19

What's rationale behind freebies, EC asks political parties


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4

Ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Election Commission today wrote to political parties seeking their views on the rationale behind poll-eve freebies. It also suggested providing voters with “authentic information” so that they can assess the financial viability of such promises.

The EC’s move comes in the wake of the recent debate over “irrational” poll promises made by political parties, which have attracted criticism from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had recently termed “revadi culture” for votes as “very dangerous” for the development of the country.

However, several Opposition leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had taken exception to the PM’s take on ‘freebies”, claiming that promises made with regard to education and health were “legitimate” as the entire population had the right to avail “quality services”.

The Supreme Court, which had earlier asked the Election Commission to frame guidelines for political parties offering such promises during their election campaigns, is again considering the issue following a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking a direction to the commission.

In a letter to all recognised national and state parties, the poll panel has proposed amending the model code to ask political parties to provide authentic information to voters on the financial viability of their poll promises and asked them to submit their views on the proposals by October 19.

The EC said empty poll promises had far-reaching ramifications and insisted that it could not overlook the undesirable impact of election promises that have implications on financial sustainability. The EC has proposed amending the model code of conduct to add a proforma to Part VIII (Guidelines on election manifesto) of the MCC. It will require political parties to inform voters about the financial feasibility of promises made in their manifestos and also whether they are sustainable within the financial space of the state or the Centre. The proforma, as proposed by the EC, seeks details on the ways of revenue generation (through additional tax, if any), rationalising expenditure (cutting some schemes, if so required), impact on committed liabilities and/or raising of further debt and its impact on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act limits.

The MCC is a document which guides the EC in ensuring level-playing field for all during elections.

Wants Model code of conduct tweaked

  • In a letter to parties, the poll panel has proposed amending the model code of conduct to add a proforma giving details of financial feasibility of promises made in manifestos
  • The parties have been told to submit their views on proposals by October 19

#Gujarat

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