Politics Current Affairs - 2019

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11th tranche of Electoral Bonds sale to start from July 1

Union Ministry of Finance recently announced the launch of 11th tranche of electoral bonds sale starting from 1-10 July. This is 1st issuance of electoral bonds after conclusion of 17th general elections and formation of new government.

What are Electoral Bonds?

Electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties in a bid to bring transparency in political funding.

Background: The government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme in January 2018. As per the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or an entity incorporated or established in India. A person can buy electoral bonds, either single or jointly or even with other individuals.

Exclusive Issuer: State Bank of India (SBI) is the only authorised bank to issue electoral bonds. In XI phase of electoral bonds sale, SBI has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches with effect from 1 to 10 July.

Eligibility: Those registered political parties that secured not less than 1% of votes polled in former election of Lok Sabha or legislative assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.

Validity: Electoral bonds are valid for 15 calendar days from date of issuance and no payment is made to any payee political party if bonds are deposited after expiry of validity period. Electoral bond deposited by an eligible political party in its account will be credited on very same day.

Previous Tranche: The sale of 1st batch of electoral bonds was from 1-10 March 2018, 2nd phase 2-10 April, 3rd phase 1-10 May, 4th tranche 2-11 July, 5th 1-10 October, 6th phase 1-10 November, 7th phase 1-10 January and 8th phase 1-15 March, 9th phase 1-20 April and 10th between 6-15 May 2019.

India ranks 42nd in 2017 Global Democracy Index

India world’s largest democracy was ranked 42nd among 165 independent states on annual 2017 Global Democracy Index (GDI) released by UK-based company, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). India’s rank has slipped from 32nd in 2016 GDI and its overall score dropped 0.58 points from 7.81 to 7.23. Moreover, India was classified India as a flawed democracy in 2017 GDI

Global Democracy Index (GDI)

The index ranks 165 independent states and 2 territories on basis of 60 indicators grouped in five different categories viz. electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. It categories countries into four broad categories viz. full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime based on their score on a scale from 0 to 10. It is released by EIU, a research and analysis division of UK- based media behemoth The Economist Group.

Key Highlights of 2017 GDI

Top 10 countries in 2017 GDI: Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and Switzerland. Top three positions on the list were occupied by Nordic countries.

Top-ranked Norway was given overall score of 9.87 with perfect-ten scores for electoral process and pluralism; political participation; and political culture. Only top 19 countries have been classified as ‘full democracies’

Global Scenario: US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong were named among ‘flawed democracies’.  The hybrid regimes classified by it includes India’s neighbours Pakistan (110th), Bangladesh (92nd), Nepal (94th) and Bhutan (99th). Those named as ‘authoritarian regimes’ include China (139th), Myanmar (120th), Russia (135th) and Vietnam (140th). North Korea was ranked lowest at 167th and Syria second last at 166th place.

India related Highlights: India’s overall score has fallen to 7.23 points, even as it scored well on electoral process and pluralism (9.17). It scored low on other four parameters—political culture, functioning of government, political participation and civil liberties. India was ranked 49th with regard to media freedom (measured this year by EIU), with its media being classified as ‘partly free’.

The rise of conservative religious ideologies in India is another factor that has affected the country’s ranking. The strengthening of right-wing Hindu forces has led to rise of vigilantism and violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, as well as other dissenting voices.