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"Huge Assumptions", Says Nirmala Sitharaman On Links Between Probe Agency Raids And Electoral Bonds

02:27 PM Mar 15, 2024 IST | 8PM News Desk
 huge assumptions   says nirmala sitharaman on links between probe agency raids and electoral bonds
"BJP Has Given Befitting Reply...Making Such Petty Statements Is Not Correct": Nirmala Sitharaman On Lalu Yadav Remarks On PM

New Delhi [India] : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that huge "assumptions" have been made after the release of data on Electoral Bond Scheme and admitted that while the system might not be perfect, it was "one bit better" than the previous system of political funding that was "completely imperfect".

"The electoral bond system may not be perfect. We must take lessons from the Supreme Court judgement on electoral bonds. There may or may not be a new law around this, I'm not commenting on it. Will make efforts to make sure there is transparency," Sitharaman said while speaking at the India Today Conclave here today.

Sitharaman also dismissed as "assumptions" the links between raids by central probe agencies on firms and their subsequent donations to election bonds.

"I think you've based yourself on huge assumptions, that the money was given after the Enforcement Directorate raid happened," Sitharaman said while responding to a question at the conclave.

The Election Commission on Thursday uploaded on its website data on electoral bonds provided by the State Bank of India after the bank was asked to do so by the Supreme Court of India.

Data uploaded by the Election Commission of India showed that Future Gaming and Hotel Services, whose director is the lottery magnate Santiago Martin, is the top purchaser of electoral bonds having purchased bonds worth Rs 1368 crore. The data relates to a period from 2019-2024.

"This matter is in court already. The verdict has come, SBI submitted... One question comes to mind, was the earlier system 100 per cent perfect? no.... atleast the money that goes to political parties is white money. We moved on from a situation when everybody did anything to a transparent system...it's certainly not better but one bit better," the Finance Minister said.

Sitharaman said that effort should be to learn from this and ensure transparency in the upcoming law if and when it comes.

She also criticised the alleged hypocrisy of the opposition for protesting against the good reforms of the Modi government. The Finance Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi government had undertaken reform works consistently.

Meanwhile, speaking at the conclave today, Sitharaman stressed on the necessity for an enhanced coordination between the Centre, states, urban local bodies, and Panchayats to facilitate comprehensive reforms that can "cascade down to the lowest level".
"The kind of reforms which we need to undertake now will have to have greater coordination between the Centre, the states and the urban local bodies, Panchayats and so on," the Finance Minister said highlighting the pivotal role of collaborative efforts in driving systemic change.

Sitharaman was participating in the 21st edition of India Today Conclave 2024 against the backdrop of the theme for this year's event, "India's rapidly changing position in the emerging global order", articulating a robust vision to fortify India's financial stronghold and propel its economy to new heights.

The Union Finance Minister also highlighted that the current interest in the Foreign Direct Investment inflow is at its peak and is projected to grow further.
Touching upon the sensitive issue of the North-South divide and whether Sitharaman offered a pragmatic perspective, and said, "It's a typical Dravidian political narrative."

Her remarks sought to address regional disparities while advocating for a unified national outlook towards development and progress.

Reflecting on the resilience of Indian markets amidst global turbulence, Sitharaman expressed confidence, stating, "Despite huge fluctuations globally, Indian markets have maintained a certain level of sanity. I place a lot of trust on the markets."

Furthermore, Sitharaman didn't shy away from addressing political dynamics, attributing the favourable environment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's potential reelection to the government's decisive actions and visionary approach. However, she also pointed fingers at detractors, labeling them as "hypocrites who wasted Parliament's time," suggesting a threefold division of credit for the conducive political climate.

"If the environment is building up for PM (Modi) to come back, it's because of two-thirds on what the government has done and the vision with which this government is functioning, and at least a 3rd goes to those hypocrites who wasted Parliament's time," said Sitharaman

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