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Loophole in Demonetization Move? Are Political Parties having an easy Escape?

People crowd the entry gate of a bank to exchange and deposit their old high denomination banknotes in Jammu, India November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

December 18, 2016: The day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes in order to unearth black money from the country at any cost it left a huge loophole that could make the entire exercise futile.

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•    The loophole is that of exempting the deposits made by political parties from I-T scrutiny and investigation. Well, this raises the question of the very intention of the Modi government.

•    When it comes to fighting black money why is there a difference in the way common man and political parties are dealt with? While common people are facing the harassment even when their money is legit, politicians are having an easy escape.

•    According to the Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, “Any income of a political party which is chargeable under the head ‘Income from house property’ or ‘Income from other sources’ or ‘Capital gains’ or any income by way of voluntary contributions received by a political party from any person shall not be included in the total income of the previous year of such political party”

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•  This gives the political parties the opportunity to collect the black money and not give any details about it. As according to the law, small donors, that is cash donations that come in, in less than Rs 20,000 can be anonymous.

•  According to the analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch shows about 75 % of the fund’s sources of the political parties remain unknown. And, that is the real problem.

•  The whole debate of transparency does not make sense when the political parties are exempted from it. It is that elephant in the room which no political leader wants to touch.

•   With the demonetization move, people expected things to change but unfortunately, it didn’t. Thus, the loophole remains, all the harassment faced by the common people will bear no fruit without this change.

•  Things became clear that the government doesn’t have the intention to touch that “loophole” part when Jaitley said, “Under Section 13A of IT Act 1961, political parties have to submit audited accounts, income & expenditure details, and balance sheets,”. He further added, “The legal and taxation regimes for all registered political parties remain as they were 20-25 years ago. Our government has not made any changes to these rules, nor are we planning to make any”.

•  Aam Aadmi Party raised the question as to why the government is not being transparent. Arvind Kejriwal also claimed in a press conference that theirs is the only party which is transparent and have the full details of all the bills, vouchers etc. However, the donor’s list is missing from the AAP’s website for past six months. A party which claims to be so transparent and accuses the other parties of being non –transparent is itself is also escaping from same.

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That being said, the double standard remains when it comes to fighting black money. The question remains the same why is it always that the common people suffer and the rich and powerful get away?

– by NewsGram team

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Fiery Political Content Arriving on Social Media

The game is set to go dirty, with more and more politicians taking jibes and trading barbs on social media platforms, which will then be reworked upon by creative agencies to flood Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

live, social media
Facebook earlier faced flak for the live streaming of suicides on its platform from different parts of the world, including India. Pixabay

Political parties have gone 24/7 on creating election-special content like issue-based memes, jokes, GIFs and short-format videos to bombard various social media platforms and woo millions of voters.

According to social media experts, while issues like unemployment, farmer distress, Rafale deal and demonetisation would dominate the social media content for the opposition, the Modi-led NDA government is aiming to highlight the Balakot air strike and poverty alleviation.

“Some political parties have appointed social media ‘warriors’ to reach out to the public on digital platforms. They are working round-the-clock as political content aggregators, preparing fiery content for social media trollers,” says social media expert Anoop Mishra.

The bombardment is likely to begin from next week and would only gain momentum as the voting process inches closer.

The rise in popularity of social media platforms has also opened up a relatively new advertising economy driven by “influencer marketing”.

There was a little slump in their activities, say experts, after the Cobrapost investigation last month revealed that several Bollywood celebrities were willing to pass views of political parties as personal opinions for money.

The dust is now settled and the army of social media “influencers” are again out to spread the propaganda of political parties.

The trend to reach out to their voters via social media platforms has caught up with many politicians, the recent ones being Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who are now on Twitter.

This not even social media players are sure of as, in their own words, there is much more to be done on this front. Pixabay

“Parties like Congress and the BJP have shared a WhatsApp number which people can directly use to connect to the party.

“Every major party and its leaders now have Twitter handle and can often be seen making parodies and memes mocking each other to connect quickly with the youth,” said Mishra.

Congress can now often be seen live-streaming their rallies on Facebook.Regional parties have spruced up their social media presence too.

Till the voting process begins, the social media platforms would turn into a battleground for the political parties.

“The post and ad frequencies would be 10 to 20 times higher than normal days. The parties would try to woo users on emotional sentiments and finally engaging them by trying to change their perception,” Mishra noted.

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There are no two opinions about the fact that political discourse is going to be impacted by social media and the consequences of this can be serious as social media platforms are already being used to create a highly-polarised atmosphere in the country.

The game is set to go dirty, with more and more politicians taking jibes and trading barbs on social media platforms, which will then be reworked upon by creative agencies to flood Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. (IANS)