Indian National parties received more than 50 per cent of the funds from “unknown” sources during the financial year 2017-18.
An analysis of the parties Income Tax (IT) returns and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that the sources remain largely unknown, said a spokesperson of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
It included donations through electoral bonds and voluntary contributions. In last 14 years, national parties collected Rs 8,721.14 crore during financial year 2017-18.
During FY 2017-18, the BJP declared Rs 553.38 crore as its income from unknown sources which is 80% of the total income of the national parties (Rs 689.44 crore).
The BJP’s income forms more than four times the aggregate income from unknown sources declared by the other five national parties.
According to it, the total income of BJP, Congress, CPI, BSP, TMC, and NCP in 2017-18 was Rs 1293.05 crore.
While their total income from known donors was Rs 467.13 crore or 36 per cent of the total income, their income from other known sources (sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy) was Rs 136.48 crore or 11 per cent of total income.
Out of Rs 689.44 crore, share of income from electoral bonds was Rs 215 crore (31 per cent). The combined income of INC and NCP from sale of coupons between FY 2004-05 and 2017-18 stands at Rs 3573.53 crore.
According to the donations reports (containing details of donations above Rs 20,000), Rs 16.80 lakh was given to the national parties in cash.
The mode of contribution of Rs 689.44 crore of unknown sources is not known. The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain.
“At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations giving less than Rs 20,000 nor those who donated via Electoral Bonds.
As a result, more than 50 per cent of the funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources. While the national political parties were brought under the RTI Act by the CIC ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision,” the ADR said in the report.