As his tenure as Chief Election Commissioner reaches an end, Nasim Zaidi said that he would have been more satisfied if the government reviewed the amendments made in the Finance Bill 2017 that made corporate funding of political parties totally opaque.
The CEC reflected concerns over the changes made in the Companies Act that scrapped a barrier that earlier restricted a corporate entity from donating more than 7. 5 percent of its average net profit. It also raised questions regarding to cancellation an existing rule that requires corporate entities to disclose, in the profit and loss account, the name of the political party to which the funding is made.
“Every commission would have liked many more reforms to come. Some minor changes in rules have taken place, but the bulk of reforms remains. I would have been more satisfied to see these reforms take place, like the transparency in political funding. It is the biggest concern for the people”, said Zaidi, who retires on July 5.
"Our problem is that If parties resort to major funding by electoral bonds and if it does not show up in the contribution report and we are not able to display it on our website, people won't get to know. This is our challenge and major concern. It introduces a lot of opaqueness."
He said the election commission is very soon going to prescribe procedures where a definite percentage of paper slips will also be counted along with the results of the EVMs.
"At least in one round they will be counted first and then tallied with the result of the EVMs. I am sure this step will settle the controversy about EVMs for once and all. Though we removed all misgivings during the EVM Challenge where only two political parties showed up and returned satisfied after learning about the robust voting system", Zaidi added.