State Funding of Elections: Is it feasible in India?

Indian elections cost huge sums of money. This money hardly comes from contributions by sympathizers of the political party but from big corporate houses. Such contributions have largely come from undeclared income/black money and this increases corruption in the electoral process. It highlights the need for implementing effective reforms in electoral finance.In the previous article, we have discussed the Electoral Bonds Scheme for bringing transparency in electoral finance. In this article, we are going to discuss another such reform called State funding of elections as a measure to bring transparency and eliminate corruption in the electoral process.

[Premium] Electoral Bonds – Is it effective to bring Transparency in Political Funding?

The State Bank of India (SBI) has opened a 20-day window from where an individual, acting singly or in concert with others, can buy electoral bonds and donate money to political parties. Purchasers of these bonds have been granted anonymity, thereby creating opacity in what should have been a transparent process. Data gathered in response to an RTI query revealed that there has been a 62% jump in donations collected through electoral bonds this year (2019).

Notably, Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the Supreme Court that the electoral bonds, wreck transparency in political funding. In its affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the EC pointed to the amendments made to key laws, with dangerous consequences.

This article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for better understanding & quick revision:

  1. What are Electoral Bonds?
  2. What is the need for Electoral Bonds (Pros)?
  3. What are the concerns against Electoral Bonds (Cons)?
  4. What are the reforms needed in Indian electoral financing?

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Mission Shakti – Why is it Path-Breaking?

Recently, the DRDO’s anti-satellite missile system (ASAT) project named Mission Shakti successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) (300 km altitude). With this test, India became the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to achieve the feat. It is considered to be a milestone for the institutions and a significant development in terms of strengthening the country’s overall security. However, the test also sparked controversy regarding space militarization and space debris.

[Premium] Clinical Trials in India – Conflict between Public Health Vs Safety

The New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules, 2019 released by the government seeks to enable faster approvals and to cut down on red tape with respect to the clinical trials in India. It seeks to promote clinical research in India by providing for a predictable, transparent and effective regulation for clinical trials and by guaranteeing faster accessibility of new drugs to the Indian population. Thus it has the potential to reinvigorate the clinical research industry, which was almost on its death bed a few years ago.

This article answers the following questions in an analytical manner.

  1. What are clinical trials?
  2. What is the need for clinical trials?
  3. How Clinical trials are conducted?
  4. Why is India a popular destination for Clinical trials?
  5. What is the regulatory mechanism for Clinical Trials in India?
  6. What are the key Issues regarding Clinical Trials in India?
  7. What are the measures taken by the government to solve those issues?
  8. What are the features and significances of the new rules of 2019?
  9. What are the suggestions to further improve the scenario?

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Fake News Menace in India: How to tackle it

With the Lok Sabha elections near, it is really important that Indians have access to credible and trustworthy information before they vote. The issue is that many do not feel they do.Notably, after the Pulwama attack, social media and messaging apps had overflown with false and deceptive news content as people were trying to understand the horrible violence.This reflects the extent of the fake news menace and the threat it poses to the Indian democracy.

[Premium] Indigenisation of Defence technology: A Big-picture Analysis

According to the latest data released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has dropped to the 2nd ranking behind Saudi Arabia among the world’s largest arms importers after staying at the top for around a decade. India imports arms from countries like Russia, the US, Europe, and Israel.
India’s continuance at the very top in the global arms import rankings, be it first or second, once again highlights the sustained failure in building robust indigenous defence industries.


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[Premium] Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) & India: Relationship

Recently India’s decades long effort to get the full membership of the 2nd largest intergovernmental group – the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) got the huge boost when it attended the OIC’s 46th session of council of foreign ministers meeting at Abu Dhabi as a guest of honour on the invitation by the host country – United Arab Emirates (UAE).It has to be noted that, India has never been invited to the OIC before and the latest development comes at a time when the India-Pakistan tension is running high, is being seen as a diplomatic success.


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Official Secrets Act – Transparency Vs National Security

The Official Secrets Act (OSA) has been in the news recently due to the debate over ‘stolen documents’ in Rafale case. The Attorney-General has suggested “criminal action” against those responsible for making ‘stolen documents’ public.OSA is a colonial-era law that seeks to ensure secrecy and confidentiality in governance especially on national security and espionage issues.However, successive governments have faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers thus violating their right to freedom of speech and expression.