NEW DELHI - India's law ministry wants the government to fund women candidates during polls, saying it will help keep a check on election funding and provide an incentive for them to join politics, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
Law Minister Veerappa Moily has proposed that female political candidates, and those from other marginalised groups like tribals and lower castes, from recognised political parties receive state funds for their campaigns, said the daily. It did not specify the amount that could be given.
"This proposal, applicable to the recognised national and state-level political parties, will bring transparency and put a check on the inflow of unaccounted money into elections," the Hindustan Times quoted a circular from the law ministry as saying. Election funding is a contentious issue in India.
Despite legislation curbing the amount political parties can spend on campaigning, laws are widely flouted, with parties spending well over the limit.
The newspaper said the law ministry proposed the government fund candidates who had a maximum annual income of less than 500,000 rupees ($11,128).
The income and assets would also include those of the candidates' spouses, dealing with concerns of how male politicians often field their wives for polls, pouring hundreds of thousands of rupees into their campaigns without declaring this money in their annual accounts.
The law ministry said this proposal, if accepted, would be an incentive to political parties to put forward candidates who are women, tribals and lower castes – all of whom are poorly represented in the political arena of the world's largest democracy.