South Asian countries including India have inked a ‘historic’ joint record of discussions called the ‘New Delhi Declaration 2015’ announcing the intention to come down on the ‘loopholes’ to fight the scourge of black money and other illegal inducements used during the electoral process in their respective jurisdictions.
Signing the declaration, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said the declaration will go “a long way” in cleaning the political finance practices of the day by the electoral management bodies in South Asia.
The two-day conference themed ‘Use of Money in Politics and Its Effects on People’s Representation’ was jointly organised by the EC and Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “The draft included recommendations on political finance regulations, how to close loopholes in the regulatory framework and coordinating efforts with all stakeholders. The declaration also provides guidance on how to ensure equal participation and recognises that women face particular obstacles created by money and access to funds,” it said.
The rules encompass issues such as “reasonable levels of spending, regulation of private contributions, abuse of state resources, enforcement, compliance and reporting requirements”. Representatives from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and the SAARC Secretariat also attended.