Regional parties received 55% donations from 'unknown' sources: ADR report
Regional parties across India received more than 55% of their donations in Financial Year 2019-20 from unidentified sources, the non-governmental body Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said in a report on Thursday. As much as 95% of those donations were made through the controversial electoral bonds, according to the report. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- Electoral bonds were first introduced in January 2018.
- There have since been concerns over their use as the instruments can be used to donate money anonymously to political parties.
- Experts have argued the bonds promote corruption and bribery.
- Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India had refused to stay the sale of electoral bonds ahead of Assembly elections in five states and UTs.
Rs. 445 crore came from unknown sources
According to the ADR report, 25 regional parties received total donations of Rs. 803.24 crore of which Rs. 445.7 crore were attributed to "unknown" sources. Out of that amount, Rs. 426.233 crore came through electoral bonds and Rs. 4.976 crore from voluntary contributions. The ADR had, earlier this year, reported that national parties collected over 70% of their total donations from unknown sources.
TRS declared highest such income
Among the regional parties, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) declared the highest income from unknown sources at Rs. 89.158 crore. Other parties with significant contributions were Telugu Desam Party (Rs. 81.694 crore), YSR Congress Party (Rs. 74.75 crore), Biju Janata Dal (Rs. 50.586 crore), and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Rs. 45.50 crore).
How much did parties get from known sources?
Regional parties also received Rs. 184.623 crore from "known" sources which comprises 22.98% of their total income. They received another Rs. 172.843 crore (21.52% of the total income) from other known sources such as membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy, etc.
'Donors' details should be made available'
"Since a very large percentage of the income of political parties cannot be traced to the original donor, full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI," the ADR noted. "The mode of payment of all donations (above and below Rs. 20,000), income from sale of coupons, membership fees, etc. should be declared by the parties."