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A man giving money to a woman (representative image), VOA

New Delhi, Feb 9, 2017: Political funding is an organized process of raising funds through the system of contribution. Political parties collect their funds from sources such as:

  • Members of a political party contribute to their party’s funds either personally or mobilize raising fund raising from, other sources.
  • People supporting a party’s ideology also can help it in building financial structures.
  • Corporations which vision their growth and diversification along with certain party’s success also donate their share.

This is done to ensure the smooth running of party’s routine activities. These daily activities include campaigning, promoting their agendas and for other political purposes.


Therefore, political funding is an essential part and parcel of any democracy.

Common people can participate in the political affairs of the country by supporting through contributing financially.

Financial contribution may enable them to ascertain changes in the party structure.

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The money collected influences the party’s extend to function and implement specific programs.

The most preferred and popular party generally receives the majority of funds and the least popular one faces shortage.

The guiding principle of democracy which is ‘For the people, by the people and of the people’ finds relevance in relation with political funding also.

But the impact of public funding is just like that of industrialization. While, industrialization has benefited the nation’s economy, it has also made poor people poorer deserting hand-made industries.

Similarly, while advocating for democracy, funding has also harvested corruption.

When the funding is unregulated and from unknown sources, then a political party becomes a fertile ground for corruption. The vested interest would definitely want to intrude all the aspects of a political party, right from policies to selection of candidates and then financial benefits post government formation at state and Central level both.

The worst part is, that political parties can violate their promises after owning all the raised funds!

Earlier parties were not required to give any account for the contributions which were below 20,000 rupees. But every rule brings with itself an alternative. Individual funds were then divided into numerous blocks and each amounting to 20,000 rupees to keep the sources ‘unknown’ and thus turning all the blackmoney into white.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget for 2017-18. reduced the limit of fund collection from anonymous sources to 2,000. Now political parties will receive donations either through cheques or digitally above Rs. 2000.

Moreover, they also have to detail their donations in income tax returns.

“Reducing the cash funding of political parties to one-tenth of what it used to be and the introduction of electoral bonds are two significant steps in curbing corruption,” said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst.

In India, currently no political party is an ideal party as far as financial transparency is concerned.

Every party is indulging in corruption with regards to funding process.

The Aam Aadmi Party which claims to be the champions of transparency have now turned opaque. With removal of donors list and balance sheets from its website, AAP now is characterized by opaqueness and murky politics.

ALSO READ: Making Healthy Living a Way of Life Can Help Us Stay Happy: David Beckham

The campaign ‘nolistnodonation’ (http://www.nolistnodonation.com/) is also struggling for the restoration of transparency in the Aam Aadmi Party. The campaign is directed towards reminding AAP of its initial basic guiding principles that were anti-corruption, clean politics and democratic socialism. It is demanding AAP to make its donation list public and practice ‘clean politics’.

-prepared by Himanshi Goyal of NewsGram


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An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets

An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission.

The findings, described in a paper published in the Astronomical Journal, showed a planetary system that comprises a star and at least two gas giant planets, each roughly the size of Saturn and located unusually close to one another.

The discovery is significant because it's rare to find gas giants -- like Saturn in the solar system -- as close to their host star as they were in this case.

The researchers cannot yet explain why it occurred there, but it makes the finding especially useful because it could help scientists form a more accurate understanding of the parameters for how planets and planetary systems develop.

"The discovery of each new world provides a unique glimpse into the physics that play a role in planet formation," said lead author Jon Zink, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar.

The findings could be a significant step toward helping astronomers understand which types of stars are most likely to have planets orbiting them and what that indicates about the building blocks needed for successful planet formation, acoording to the study.

"We need to look at a wide range of stars, not just ones like our sun, to understand that," Zink said.

The term "exoplanets" is used to describe planets outside of the solar system. The number of exoplanets that have been identified by astronomers numbers fewer than 5,000 in all, so the identification of hundreds of new ones is a significant advance.

Kepler's original mission came to an unexpected end in 2013 when a mechanical failure left the spacecraft unable to precisely point at the patch of sky it had been observing for years.

But astronomers repurposed the telescope for a new mission known as K2, whose objective is to identify exoplanets near distant stars. Data from K2 is helping scientists understand how stars' location in the galaxy influences what kind of planets are able to form around them. (IANS/JB)

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In the Indian atomic energy sector, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Officials of the Indian space sector, both serving and retired, are of the view that the space sector's organisational structure is expected to mirror that of India's atomic energy sector.

They also said that senior officials of the Indian space agency should address the employees on what is happening in the sector and how it will pan out so that uncertainty and confusion are addressed.

In the Indian atomic energy sector, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is at the top, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is the sectoral regulator while the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (both power companies), the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd, the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, and IREL (India) Ltd are public sector units (PSU).

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The Bhabha Atomic Energy Centre (BARC), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) are the premier research and development (R&D) organizations and there are several DAE-aided organizations.

While the DAE is headed by a Secretary (normally from the R&D units) who is also the head of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the R&D centres and PSUs are headed by different persons.

Similarly, the government that has started the space sector reforms seems to be replicating the atomic energy model, several officials told IANS.

"The Central government's moves in the space sector seems to replicate the atomic energy model," an official told IANS.

Currently, the Department of Space (DOS) is at the top and below that, comes the private sector space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with various R&D-cum-production (rockets, satellites and others) units.

The sector has two PSUs - Antrix Corporation Ltd and NewSpace India Ltd.

Unlike the atomic energy sector, the Secretary of the DOS and Chairman of the Space Commission is also the Chairman of the ISRO.

As part of the space sector reform measures, the government has set up IN-SPACe as a regulator for the private sector players.

"Ultimately there will be only one sectoral regulator. There cannot be two regulators - one for the private sector and other for the public sector. Who will be the regulator if there is a company that is floated in public-private partnership," an official asked.

"It is good that there is a separate sectoral regulator outside of the DOS and the ISRO," an official said.

The recently-formed PSU NewSpace India has been mandated to build, own satellites, rockets and also provide space based services and transfer ISRO-developed technologies to others.

ISRO Chairman and Secretary DOS K.Sivan has been saying that ISRO will focus on high end research.

As a result, the positions of Secretary, DOS and Chairman, ISRO may not be held by the same person.

"Looking forward, there are possibilities of the government coming out with a voluntary retirement scheme for ISRO officials and merging its various production centres with NewSpace to synergise its operations," a former senior official of ISRO told IANS.

"But there is one issue in this proposition. For ISRO, the production centres are also its R&D centre. Both production and R&D are interwoven. One has to see how both will be separated to be housed under ISRO and NewSpace India."

Meanwhile, the minds of ISRO officials are filled with uncertainty and confusion about their future which is linked to that of their organization.

ISRO Staff Association General Secretary G.R.Pramod had told IANS that there is "uncertainty all around about the future of about 17,300 employees of ISRO".

"The ISRO top management that includes the Chairman and the Heads of various centres should come out openly and address the employee concerns at the earliest," an official added.

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The micro-blogging platform already covers explicit instances of abusive behaviour

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The micro-blogging platform already covers explicit instances of abusive behaviour under its policies, the expansion of the policy will allow the platform to take action on media that is shared without any explicit abusive content, provided it's posted without the consent of the person depicted.

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"Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person's privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm," Twitter said in a blog post late on Tuesday.

"The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorised private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options," the company informed.

Under the existing policy, publishing other people's private information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and IDs, is already not allowed on Twitter.

This includes threatening to expose private information or incentivising others to do so.

"There are growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals," Twitter said.

When Twitter is notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorised representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, it removes it.

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