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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Should political parties get state funding?
India's ruling party has proposed a code of ethics aimed at cleaning up after the arms bribery scandal that rocked the political establishment.

The code was proposed by the new president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, K Jana Krishnamurthy.

He replaced Bangaru Laxman, who was secretly filmed by the Tehelka news website accepting cash from reporters posing as arms dealers.

Would state funding lead to more transparency in politics? Is this the right move? Or would public money be better spent on other things?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

India has a large number of political parties and they are in a constant flux

Thiruvengadam Ramakrishnan, USA
India has a large number of political parties and they are in a constant flux - split, join and change names. It would be impossible for the State to keep track of the changes and fund them on a rational basis. Besides, the Indian system permits new political parties to emerge from the wilderness and challenge the establishment; Government funding would favour the incumbents over the upstarts. India's multi-party coalitions work just as well as the two party system (each with a broad spectrum of interests and loyalties) in the US.
Thiruvengadam Ramakrishnan, USA

State funding will pave the way for unworthy people to start off a political party and get funding from taxpayers. This is in no way going to prevent extortion of soft money from business establishments.
Srikanth Pradhan, USA

State funding is not the only way to introduce transparency into the system. For a poor country like ours, this is not an option. Instead all the funding should be strictly monitored by some authority (similar to CAG), so that transparency is ensured.
Pranav, India

Where there is bureaucracy, there is corruption

Guru Shenoy, United States
Where there is bureaucracy, there is corruption. To introduce the so called 'code of ethics' is one thing; to enforce it is another. State funding should introduce 'better' transparency than the current system, but rest assured the 'babus' are sure to find a loophole and start the exploiting process all over again.
Guru Shenoy, United States

Yes, state funding as well as limited soft-money contribution from the public are one way to reduce the risk of a future bribery scandal in India. Indians, as a whole are corrupt nation, no code of ethics will help them to combat with this type of public behavior. In my opinion, the Indian Government should pass a strict law, similar to one middle eastern country which will help them to clean this type of corruption for good.
Sal Bhattacharya, USA

State money should be spent on apprehending and criminally prosecuting the corrupt politicians. They have betrayed the trust of the nation and have committed treason. The code of ethics being proposed will do no more than allow the guilty to escape punishment and it will facilitate the spreading of this cancer of corruption in Indian society.
Rahim Khan, Bradford, England

The proposed code of ethics by the ruling BJP is an eye-wash

Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda (Indian)
It is very hard to find a politician with a clean hand in India. All the political parties get money from industrialists for their party and selfish activities. The proposed code of ethics by the ruling BJP is an eye-wash. It is very frustrating to see corrupt politicians go unpunished. Ex-Prime Minister Narasimha Rao was charge sheeted on various corruption charges, but now he is a free man and he enjoys his life. In the southern State of Tamil Nadu, the ex-Chief Minister, Jeyalalitha, has been charge-sheeted on various corruption charges and she has been allowed to contest the election. One need not be surprised if she becomes the Chief Minister of the State again. As long as there is no proper judicial system to punish corrupt politicians in India, no code of ethics will help clean the system.
Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda (Indian)

It is greed which motivates all corruption and public financing will do nothing to alleviate this. This debate is also going on in the USA, my adopted country. Corruption is a way of life in all developing countries and India is one of them. I hope people change and don't participate in it and if most of us are honest corruption will die.
Nand Mehta, USA

I am strongly opposed to political parties getting state funding. All funding should come from the federal level. And that too for parties that have representation in all of the states. Time to weed out regional politics and concentrate on national agendas. This will also give India a stable regime for governing the country.
Ranjan Chattopadhyay, USA

The experience of other countries who provide state funding is not encouraging; it just might diminish the magnitude of gross abuses but is unlikely to eliminate the evil in its entirety.
Mohansingh, India

The political parties should not get any public money as they always tend to waste money in useless rallies and other gimmicks

Mohan Viswanathan, India/USA
I feel that political parties should not get state funding. Public money should be used towards research and development in important areas, such as defence, railways, roads, irrigation, education and the IT sector. The political parties should not get any public money as they always tend to waste money in useless rallies and other gimmicks which are only aimed at gaining "cheap" popularity and amassing personal wealth. Then there is the omnipresent issue of corruption in all the parties. Also, these parties are never short of money anyway, as they get huge "donations" from other corrupt rich people. So public money would be better spent on improving the life of the common man.
Mohan Viswanathan, India/USA

The state should never spend money for politics. The government's main responsibility is to build good infrastructure, develop agricultural industries and help the poorest of the poor in society by providing assistance in education and self employment. The government must check corruption in all walks of life no matter how simple or sensitive the matter is.
Baremane Ravi, USA

No political party should be funded by the state. All funding should be collected from the party workers and supporters. The only requirement should be that a legal, proper procedure be defined, and if possible tax exempted.
Ravi BN, India/US

Why waste state funds. Politicians will nonetheless take money from vested parties. There is no end to their greed and pen chance for wealth accumulation.
Kiran Chikkappa, USA

It is ridiculous to think of the state funding these parties. Why should tax payers' money be given to all parties? Also, it is painful to know that part of my money would be used to fund a party which I do not believe in. Also it does not stop these parties raising funds from other sources.
Mahesh, India/USA

The way for fund collection by political parties should be regulated and made more transparent

Amit Kumar, India
State funding may lead to wastage of public money and be a burden on tax payers. Instead the way for fund collection by political parties should be regulated and made more transparent. One way to do this can be, by making it unlawful for any party to accept funds directly. Whoever wants to donate money to any party should directly deposit the fund with the election commission, indicating which party the fund is meant for. The election commission should publish a report on how much money which party got once every year and let the parties withdraw the money from it.
Amit Kumar, India

Whether it is state funding or from individuals or corporates, either way it is required to dilute the hold of the populists, the unions and worst of all, the organized crime from Indian politics. It is rather ridiculous to believe that one can run effective campaigns in constituencies of about a million people with about Rs 35000 (I think the max allowed under election guidelines). Moreover, if corporates cannot contribute money and take tax credit for it, then you are of course inviting them to make it under the table.
Ashesh, USA

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29 Mar 01 | South Asia
India proposes code of ethics
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