New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) wrote to the political parties on Tuesday, for providing authentic information to the voters to assess the financial viability of their election promises. ‘It cannot overlook inadequate disclosures on election promises and consequential undesirable impact on financial sustainability as empty Election promises so made have far-reaching ramifications’, said ECI. The move came amid an ongoing political debate over freebie politics.
ECI prescribes a standardized disclosure proforma, facilitating comparability, with minute details broadly capturing standard parameters as used by FC, RBI, FRBM, CAG and in Budgets. Election Commission aimed to inform voters about the financial feasibility of election promises in the manifesto and also whether sustainable within the financial space of the State/Union.
While the existing guidelines under MCC require the political parties and candidates to explain the rationale for promises made therein as well as the possible ways and means to finance such promises, the Election Commission of India has observed that the declarations are quite routine, ambiguous and do not provide adequate information to voters to exercise informed choice in an election.
Election Commission in its meeting led by CEC Rajiv Kumar and attended by EC Anup Chandra Pandey decided that ECI cannot remain a mute spectator and overlook the undesirable impact of some of the promises and offers, on the conduct of free and fair elections and maintain a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. ECI agrees in principle with the point of view that framing manifestos is the right of the political parties.