In News: The Supreme Court asked the Centre to find out from the Finance Commission whether there is a way to curb political parties from promising and distributing “irrational freebies” during election campaigns.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana flagged the issue as “serious” and asked for means to control the promise of “freebies” to entice votes.
- The Election Commission of India (ECI), on the other hand aid it has no power to regulate the same or take action against parties making such poll promises.
- In an affidavit, the poll body said “offering/distribution of any freebies either before or after election is a policy decision of the party concerned, and whether such policies are financially viable or its adverse effect on the economic health over the state is a question that has to be considered and decided by the voters.
- Finally the court has asked Additional Solicitor General to explore this avenue and get instructions from the government
- The hearing came on a writ petition filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who had argued that the offer and distribution of “irrational freebies” amounted to bribery and unduly influencing voters. It vitiated free and fair elections in the country.
- Upadhyay claimed that States in total had debts of over ₹70 lakh crore.
- He suggested that the Law Commission of India should be asked to examine the statutes to control the giving away of unreasonable freebies.
Finance Commission (FC)
- The FC is a constitutional body that determines the method and formula for distributing the tax proceeds between the Centre and states, and among the states as per the constitutional arrangement and present requirements.
- Under Article 280 of the Constitution, the President of India is required to constitute a Finance Commission at an interval of five years or earlier.
- The 15th Finance Commission was constituted by the President of India in November 2017, under the chairmanship of NK Singh.
Finance Commission – Members Qualifications
- Parliament may by law determine the qualifications which shall be requisite for appointment as members of the Commission and the manner in which they shall be selected.
- The Chairman of the Commission is selected from among persons who have experience in public affairs, and the four other members are selected from among persons who:
- are, or have been, or are qualified to be appointed as Judges of the High Court;
- have special knowledge in the finances and accounts of the Government;
- have had wide experience in financial matters and in administration;
- have special knowledge of economics.
Tenure of Finance Commission
- The President of India specifies the term of office for Members of the Finance Commission, they are normally appointed for five years, and in some situations, the members are re-appointed.
Functions of the Finance Commission
It is the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to:
- The distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes which are to be, or maybe, divided between them and the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds.
- The principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States out of the consolidated fund of India.
- The measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a state to supplement the resources of the Panchayat in the State on the basis of the recommendation made by the Finance commission of these states.
- The measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a state to supplement the resources of the Municipalities in the State on the basis of the recommendation made by the Finance commission of these states.
- Any other matters referred to the Commission by the President in the interests of sound finance.
- The Commission determines its procedure and has such powers in the performance of their functions as Parliament may by law confer on them.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) With reference to Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, consider the following statements: (2022)
- As per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the election of Deputy Speaker shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix.
- There is a mandatory provision that the election of a candidate as Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha shall be from either the principal opposition party or the ruling party.
- The Deputy Speaker has the same power as of the Speaker when presiding over the sitting of the House and no appeal lies against his rulings.
- The well established parliamentary practice regarding the appointment of Deputy Speaker is that the motion is moved by the Speaker and duly seconded by the Prime Minister.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
- 3 and 4 only
- 2 and 4 only