The Election Commission of India has approached the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to frame accounting formats exclusively meant for political parties. These, once made mandatory, are expected to bring in more financial accountability from political parties. Corporate funding is one of the major sources of income for political parties to carry out their activities, including election campaigns.

“The Commission wants the accounting standards and auditing and assurance standards adopted by us to be made applicable to the accounts and audits of political parties also”, said Amarjit Chopra, president, ICAI.

He said ICAI was on the job and perusing various formats of accounts of political parties. He said they’d give the recommendations to the Commission within a week.

ICAI standards essentially prescribe the manner in which accounts should be maintained and help auditors to verify it through a standard procedure.

The current guidelines call for disclosure of donations above Rs 20,000 made to political parties. The ECI’s attempt is to ensure documentation for all such sources of income. It is also looking at a credible model that can cross-check and confirm the receipt and expenditure of such funds.

“Why shouldn’t we recommend rotation of auditors for political parties when the proposed Companies Bill is making it mandatory for all companies?” Chopra asked.

The practice of maintaining accounts and auditing already exists among political parties. However, the accounting system is not known to be exhaustive enough to identify all revenue streams and expenses.

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