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69% of political parties' funding from unknown sources

January 24, 2017 22:25 IST

Political parties received Rs 7,833 crore funding from unknown sources between 2004-05 and 2014-15, which is 69 per cent of their total income, with Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party witnessing maximum income from such sources, says a report.

National and regional political parties received Rs 11,367.34 crore of total income during this period, as per a report by Delhi-based think-tank Association for Democratic Reforms.

Income of political parties from known donors was Rs 1,835.63 crore, which is 16 per cent of their total income.

Also, total income of political parties from other known sources (sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc) stood at Rs 1,698.73 crore or 15 per cent.

As per the ADR report, during the 11 years, 83 per cent of total income of Indian National Congress amounting to Rs 3,323.39 crore and 65 per cent of total income of BJP amounting to Rs 2,125.91 crore came from unknown sources.

Among the regional parties, Rs 766.27 crore or 94 per cent of total income of the Samajwadi Party and Rs 88.06 crore or 86 per cent of Shiromani Akali Dal came from unknown sources.

Income of national parties from unknown sources increased by 313 per cent, from Rs 274.13 crore during 2004-05 to Rs 1,130.92 crore during 2014-15, ADR said.

Income of regional parties from unknown sources also increased by 652 per cent from Rs 37.393 crore to Rs 281.01 crore.

Among all the national and regional parties considered, Bahujan Samaj Party is the only party to consistently declare receiving nil donations above Rs 20,000 between 2004-05 and 2014-15 thus 100 per cent of the party’s donations came from unknown sources, it said.

Total income of the party increased by 2,057 per cent from Rs 5.19 crore to Rs 111.96 crore, as per ADR.

INC has the highest total income of Rs 3,982.09 crore between 2004-05 and 2014-15, this is 42.92 per cent of the total income of the 6 parties during the same time.

BJP has the second highest income of Rs 3,272.63 crore which is 35.27 per cent of the total income of the 6 national parties.

Total declared income of regional parties between 2004-05 and 2014-15 was Rs 2,089.04 crore. SP has the highest total income of Rs 819.1 crore followed by Dravida Munnetra Kazagham with Rs 203.02 crore and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam with Rs 165.01 crore.

Total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the six national parties was Rs 1,405.19 crore. BJP tops the list and has declared a total of Rs 917.86 crore as received through voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000.

Total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the regional parties was Rs 430.42 crore. DMK tops the list and has declared a total of Rs 129.83 crore as received via voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 but the party has not filed its donations report for the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06.

The unknown sources are income declared in the IT returns but without giving source of income for donations below Rs 20,000. Such unknown sources include sale of coupons, Aajiwan Sahayog Nidhi, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions, contribution from meetings/morchas etc.

At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations giving less than Rs 20,000. As a result, over two-thirds of the funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources.

“This becomes very relevant in the light of recent events when demonetisation was announced so as to weed out black money from the society,” the report by ADR said.

Six national parties (INC, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPM) and 51 regional recognised were considered for the analysis.

Of the 51 regional political parties considered for the report, 45 parties have not submitted their donations statements to the ECI for at least one financial year, it said.

Any organisation that receives foreign funding should not be allowed to support or campaign for any candidate or political party, ADR said.

“The national and other political parties must provide all information under the Right to Information Act. This will only strengthen political parties, elections and democracy,” the report noted.

Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder Member ADR told in a press conference, “We believe it is in the interest of political parties also to change their methods of working and two fundamental changes are required one is internal democracy and other is financial transparency.” 

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