New Delhi: Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Monday informed Lok Sabha that the Election Commission of India (EC) is not in favour of state funding of elections as it will not be able to keep a record on the expenditure of Individual candidate over and above provided for by states. Also Read - SC Refuses Interim Stay on Electoral Bond Scheme, Asks Centre And Election Commission to File Reply Within 2 Weeks

“The Election Commission has informed the Government that it is not in favour of State Funding as it will not be able to prohibit or check candidates own expenditure or expenditure by others over and above that which is provided for by the state,” the minister said. Also Read - RBI Had No Objection to Issue Electoral Bonds Through SBI: Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Thakur further informed that the EC is of view that to address real issues, there have to be drastic changes in the provisions regarding receipts of funds by political parties and the manner in which such funds are being spent by the candidates so as to provide for complete transparency in the matter. Also Read - ‘Corrupt Politicians Don’t Want Clean Money in Elections,’ BJP Slams Congress on Electoral Bonds

The union Minister further added that the Central government had amended the Income Tax Act to bring in transparency in the sources of funding of political parties. For the, the Central government has also limited anonymous cash donations to Rs 2,000, he added.

With an effort to establish a transparent political funding system in the country, the Central government has introduced the ‘Electoral Bond Scheme 2018’ with well-established audit trail.

Replying to another question on Income Tax, Thakur stated that the number of assesses filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) has consistently increased in the last three years as well as in the current year.

He also informed the Lok Sabha that the total number of e-returns (excluding revised returns) were 5.18 crore in assessment year 2016-17 and 6.35 crore during Assessment Year (up to Feb 15, 2020).