HomeBrand BihariHow Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC Is Linked To American Political Action Committee

How Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC Is Linked To American Political Action Committee

The first Political Action Committee (PAC) was formed in the USA in July 1943. Today there are more than six thousand PACs in the USA. These PACs were formed in the USA to fund the election of a particular candidate or party of their choice. The first PAC in India was established by Prashant Kishor in the year 2013. But the Indian Political Action Committee of Prashant Kishor was different from American Political Action Committees. 

History of PACs:

In the USA the first Political Action Committee was named CIO-PAC (Congress of Industrial Organisations—Political Action Committee). By the end of the 19th century, there were many capitalist organisations openly funding the election of a particular candidate or party in the USA. They were doing this to influence the political decisions of elected representatives in favour of their economic interests. 

By the early 20th Century, this Corporate funding was influencing the electoral affairs of the USA extensively. In 1907 the American Government brought the Tillman Act to prohibit the corporate funding of American elections. Now the corporates began to fund the candidate/ party of their choice through the labour organisations. The Smit—Connally Act of 1943 prohibited even labour organisations from funding American elections. 

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The formation of CIO-PAC was the result of the restriction by the Smith—Connally Act. Many more PACs formed in the USA in the coming years; thus, the indirect control of American corporates increased over the electoral processes of the USA. Many laws were enacted during the 1970s to help these Political Action Committees increase their activities and influence. Today, these PACs of the USA are tax exempted. Even today, Corporates or Labour Unions cannot give these PACs grants but can provide financial support for their administration. They can take contributions only from the general public. 

There are around seven thousand different kinds of PAC functions in the USA. During the 2018 presidential election, the top 10 of these in the USA contributed $29,349,895 to different candidates. These PACs influenced the decision of the American Congress on several legislations including Sugar Legislation during the 1980s and Public Health.

Indian Political Action Committee:

Started as Citizen for Accountable Governance (CAG), I-PAC tries to make us believe that they work for better governance by designing different public policies and programs for the state or central government. The official website of I-PAC does not mention the number of successful electoral campaigns such as Chay Pe Charcha, Walk With Jagan Reddy or Coffee With Captain etc. they did for different political parties in the last decade. Instead, it celebrates its intervention in governance programs such as 7 Nischay (Bihar), STALININ 7 URUDHIMOZHIGAL, Kejriwal Ki 10 Guarantees, Captain De 9 Nukte, etc.

But unlike American Political Action Committees, I-PACs do not have constitutional validity. The American Political Action Committees are registered and monitored by the American election commission at the federal and state level. Indian Political Action Committee also never manages to fund any election which is at the core of the functioning of the PACs in the USA.

The idea of lateral entries of experts to the Indian administration at the officer level is also the idea first put forward by Prashant Kishor when he was working with Narendra Modi in Gujarat. Today, even UGC accepted that idea and allows experts in particular fields without the required educational qualifications to become a professor at any university.

There is a need to understand the larger objectives with which I-PACs and Prashant Kishor entered the electoral system in India. Bad or good but these trends would definitely have a long-term effect on the functioning of Indian democracy. These effects would definitely be other than the changes he brought in the campaigning strategy of Indian elections.

PACs in the Rest of The World:

There is nothing called Political Action Committees in any other parts of the world except USA and India. However, since 2001 the European Union has been raising concerns regarding the corporate funding of political parties to influence their political and policy-level decisions. They call it ‘Interest Groups’ Financial Donations‘ or ‘Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption (GMC)’ etc. India also needs to regulate these Political Action Committees in the interest of Democracy.

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Sweety Tindde
Sweety Tinddehttp://huntthehaunted.com
Sweety Tindde works with Azim Premji Foundation as a 'Resource Person' in Srinagar Garhwal.
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