BANGALORE: A panel discussion on “India : Democracy, Election and Black Money” was held at Bangalore International Centre recently. This couldn’t have come at a better time, with the ongoing UP assembly elections showing how ‘money power’ is again playing havoc with the electoral system in the country and the Election Commission pulling up its socks to deal with the menace.
The eminent speakers included former dean of Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B) and founding secretary of Centre for Collective Development (CCD), professor Trilochan Sastry and senior journalist, V Sridhar. The moderator was professor Narendra Pani, School of Social Sciences.
V Sridhar who was present on the ocassion said, “if money has a role to play in the elections, it will have adverse consequences on democracy.” He also spoke about the lack of transparency in the Public Private Partnership projects and how de-regulation blurs the line between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’. He spoke about Mauritius, considered a tax haven and said that formally, the money coming from this country is considered ‘legal’.
When one of the members from the audience asked Sridhar about the ‘Paid News’ phenomena, he replied, “ it is not possible to just banish it away and unfortunately will continue.”
On how to tackle it, the speakers agreed to the crucial role played by the civil society, active participation of people in the democracy and how important it is for each one of us to vote. Though they were quick to add that voting won’t solve all the problems and what is needed, is sound morals and ethics in our society. There were a couple of interesting questions thrown open to the public as well.