National-parties received over 50% funds from 'unknown' sources in 2017-18
More than 50% of the funds national parties received during the financial year 2017-18 came from "unknown" sources that included donations through electoral bonds and voluntary contributions, according to election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The ADR today released the findings of an analysis of six national parties' I-T returns and donation statements filed with the Election Commission. Read the details here.
Total income of 6 national parties was Rs. 1293.05 crore
According to the report, the total income of BJP, Congress, CPI, BSP, TMC, and NCP in 2017-18 was Rs. 1293.05 crore. 53% of their total income, which is Rs. 689.44 crore, was from "unknown" sources, said the findings. Out of the total income of parties from "unknown" sources, the share from electoral bonds was Rs. 215 crore or 31%, the report said.
Parties received Rs. 354.22 crore through voluntary contributions
The report further said that the parties received Rs. 354.22 crore or more than 51% of the fund from unknown sources through voluntary contributions (below Rs. 20,000). The total income from other miscellaneous unknown sources was Rs. 4.5 crore, it said.
Income from other known sources accounted for Rs. 136.48 crore
While the contribution by "known" donors, whose details were available from Election Commission, was Rs. 467.13 crore (36% of the total income), the income from other known sources, such as from the sale of assets and publications, membership fees, bank interest, and party levy was Rs. 136.48 crore. ADR also released the donation reports containing details of donations above Rs. 20,000.
CPI(M) not included as its 'schedules or annexures were unavailable'
According to donation reports, only Rs. 16.80 lakh was given in cash to the national parties in 2017-18. The CPI(M), which is also a national party, was not included in the analysis as its "schedules or annexures were unavailable for the financial year 2017-18".
Of total unknown sources income, BJP received Rs. 553.38 crore
The ruling party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) alone declared Rs. 553.38 crore as its income from unknown sources, which is 80% of the total income of national parties from such sources. Of the total donations above Rs. 20,000 which was Rs. 469.89 crore, BJP bagged the maximum with Rs. 437.04 crore followed by Congress which has declared receiving Rs. 26.658 crore.
Parties not providing details under RTI despite CIC 2013 ruling
At present, the national political parties are not required to declare the names of individuals and organizations giving less than Rs. 20,000 nor of those who donate via electoral bonds. Despite the fact that the national parties were brought under the Right to Information Act by the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision.
ADR asked all political parties to provide details of donors
The ADR recommended that details about donors should be made public by all the parties, as "this will only strengthen political parties, elections and democracy." It said the pattern is followed in many countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, the US and Japan. In none of these countries, income from "unknown" source crosses 50% but the situation still persists in India, it said.