WindsofChange

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WindsofChange

  1. 1. PROPOSALS TO REDUCE THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY AND MUSCLE IN ELECTIONS Team: WindsofChange Abhishek Tiwari Achyoot Sinha Asis Dash Kaushal Ketan Shah Kumar Ashlesh Manthan Topic : Fairness at Play
  2. 2. Overview 2004: Average wealth of MP = INR 1.86 crore 2009: Average wealth of MP = INR 5.33 crore 383 86 76 162 Criminal charges on Lok Sabha MPs (15th Lok Sabha) No criminal charges Non serious criminal charges Serious criminal charges 186% increase Influence of money and muscle in elections remain a serious problem for India – Actual spending in each election = 3 to 5 crore per candidate (INR 8,000 crore black money per election)
  3. 3. Measures to reduce influence of money – involve more middle class  Need to involve more middle class  Lower propensity to be influenced by money  Internal migration of 307 million (according to 2011 census) for jobs creates challenges for voting  Enable people to vote from anywhere in the country to increase participation and better self governance  Convenience in voting due to electronic voting machines  Leveraging Indian strength of the IT industry for seamless voting experience Measures to increase participation of middle class in voting will reduce influence of money
  4. 4. Measures to reduce influence of money – regulation of monetary contributions to political parties  Regulate monetary contributions to political parties from individuals, corporations and organizations  Contributions should be based on the per capita income of India  For example – Capping individual contributions at 2 times per capita income  Capping institutional contributions at 5 times per capita income  Result in reducing influence of wealthy individuals and/or large corporations  Challenge – Lack of political will in Implementation  Solution –  Public pressure for passing such a legislation to initiate curbing the influence of money in elections Regulating money supply to political parties will reduce influence of money
  5. 5. Measures to reduce influence of money – control of Election Commission in disbursing donations  Central flow of donations  Facilitation of all donations (personal from family members or external) to a central account maintained by the Election Commission of India  Disbursement of donated amounts to intended recipients via ECI  Enforcement of donations laws (described above) to be overseen by ECI  Better and stricter execution of the Election code of Conduct  Result in greater transparency and better control in the donation process Flow of all donations through Election Commission of India will make the process more transparent
  6. 6. Measures to reduce influence of money – allocation of media time by ECI  Providing some free and equal media slots during election campaign to all candidates for office (including print, radio, television, etc.)  Result in elimination of the big money facilitating election campaigns via media  Election statistics show that in over 90% of elections, the candidate that spends the most money wins Equal and fair media time allotment will provide equal opportunities to all parties
  7. 7. Measures to reduce influence of money – focusing on first time voters  Focus on first time voters  Studies show that voters who vote in their first eligible election continue to keep voting much more  Leveraging positive social effects: Focused study by a Yale professor –  Earlier elections used to be a public affair and people took pride  Later it became a private affair.  People only care if their neighbors know that they voted in spite of knowing that their single vote might not make a difference  In a controlled experiment, the researcher sent out lists of people who voted (without revealing whom they voted for) – resulted in an increase in turn out in the next election  Reminder for voting using latest technology  Increase in voting by 4% as a result of sending a text reminder (as found out by Cambridge Researchers)
  8. 8. Measures to reduce influence of muscle – equal duration for campaigning  Make it illegal to start campaigning before a certain date prior to an election  All candidates have equal campaign duration, so that campaigns will consume less time and money  Introduce “term limits” for politicians  Too many voters are too easily bribed and hence bad politicians keep coming back  Authorize the District Magistrates to follow only the orders of the ECI during the election period Better implementation and laws on preventing campaigning before a certain date will reduce influence of muscle
  9. 9. Measures to reduce influence of muscle – reform vote counting procedures Reforms in Vote-counting procedures  Introduce Fair play index of candidate in vote counting  Introduce one fair play index formula, which will be determined by no of criminal cases, tax frauds, etc of candidate  Total number of votes received will be multiplied by this number and final output will decide who wins  Allot similar index to political parties based on total number of tickets given to criminals, people facing corrupt charges etc.  Multiply this factor to total number of seats received by that political party  Result in reduced incentives for giving tickets to criminals Adjusting the number of votes polled for each party/candidate on the basis of legal cases against them will ensure better politicians reaching the parliamnet
  10. 10. Measures to reduce influence of muscle – approval voting and administrative changes  "Approval Voting" – the way to go forward?  Proven by studies that it eliminates spoiler effect  Reduces negative campaigning.  Transparency in financial transactions of political parties during election campaigning  Framing of laws to ensure that a unified price list for political advertising during election campaigns is made public via media  Strengthening rules on equal access to the media – adopting such practices from other countries.  Monitoring of observers and presiding officers to prevent bribes and influence on the outcome of elections.  Class 1 officers who have been accused of corruption should not be appointed Election observers or Presiding officers.
  11. 11. Conclusion/Challenges  Influence of money and muscle in elections are a serious threat to the democratic process of India  Urgent need to eliminate unfair candidates from standing in elections  Greater participation of young, educated, urban Indians vital to the health of our democracy  Implementation of reforms is an uphill battle since a large number of MPs, MLAs already have criminal records and deep pockets. Ironically they hold the decision making powers for any kind of reforms  However, talking about reforms and increasing public awareness about measures to improve the election process could result in implementation of these reforms  India has a long way to go in order to make the democracy healthier, thinking about the problems and spreading awareness are the first steps towards this goal. Implementation and results would follow  The founding principle of democracy will ensure the implementation of such reforms once awareness levels are increased. Great examples of the power of people trumping powerful politicians include the RTI act and the Jan LokPal Bill
  12. 12. Appendix  Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment by Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green, Christopher W. Larimer (http://isps.yale.edu/research/publications/isps08-001#.UiiuBMbde2U)  University of Michigan and Princeton researcher with Student PIRG New Voters Project and Working Assets Wireless (http://www.newvotersproject.org/research/text-messaging)  http://lawmin.nic.in/ncrwc/finalreport/v2b1-9.htm  http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/dangerous-for- democracy/article4530365.ece  http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/migrations.aspx  http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/the-rs-81-500-crore-lie-137943  http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Contesting.aspx

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