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Will you ban all cash donations to political parties, Mr PM?
The Government of India announced the demonetisation of old 500/1000 rupee notes on November 8, 2016. Despite the untold miseries and pains of majority of citizens, PM Modi is repeatedly talking about the long term gains out of demonetisation pain.
The government is also reiterating the need and necessity for going into a "cashless society" in a third world country like India. The PM is always emphasising the dire need for digital payments as if India has become the number one digital super power on earth. Will these digital payments make delightful moments for all? That's different!

In this unique scenario of government sponsored currency crisis and cash crunch, the political parties are however the privileged lot. They are still the exempted species to receive cash donations without restrictions. Unfortunately, these outfits are legally allowed to receive old 500/1000 rupee notes from anybody as cash donations. The law prevalent in India also allows anonymous donations in cash to political parties.

Unfortunately, there is no constitutional provision existing in India against anonymous donations to political parties. However, there is an indirect ban under the requirement of declaration of donations (under section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951) which prevents political parties from taking anonymous donations above Rs. 20,000. In other words, political parties in India are legally allowed to receive anonymous donations upto Rs. 20,000.

As PM Narendra Modi says, we all are living in demonetised India which is allegedly marching towards 'cash free economy'. Everybody in Modi Government (starting from PM to peon) is talking about 100 per cent digital India. In this context, a bitter question may arise: In a country which is heading towards cashless society, why should the political outfits still be allowed to receive donations in cash. Is it fair under any parameter?

If the so-called war on black money is true and genuine in all respects, then there should not be any exemption for anybody including the parties of politicians. As a good move, Modi Government should ban all 'cash donations' to 'political parties' in India. Will they do it immediately?

These outfits of politicians should be made to lead by example by avoiding all sorts of cash transactions. They should never be allowed to enjoy 'anonymous donations' anymore! Will the PM do the needful? If not, Demonetisation 2016' and the so-called 'war on black money' along with all 'actions' of PM Modi will just prove a reminder of the 'Tughlaq regime' of Indian history.

(Mr V S Vadivel, FCA ACS, is an eminent Chartered Accountant, notable author, socio-economic thinker and unique academician from India)

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