Political parties' funding and finances: India

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Top 5 unknown sources of income for national parties; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 23, 2016
Funding of political parties, some details; Graphic courtesy: India Today, September 7, 2015
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

Assets of political parties

Change in value of assets between 2004 and 2017

ADR: BJP's declared assets up 627%, Cong's 353% in 12 years, Oct 17 2017: The Times of India


The value of BJP's de clared assets has in creased 627% from Rs 122.93 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 893.88 crore in 2015-16, and that of Congress' by 353% from Rs 167.35 crore to Rs 758.79 crore, according to a report by NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Election Watch based on declarations made by parties before the Election Commission.

The value of Trinamool Congress' assets rose 179% from Rs 0.25 crore to Rs 44.99 crore during the 12-year period, according to the figures released by ADR and Election Watch at a press conference here. The value of CPM's assets rose 383% from Rs 90.55 crore to Rs 437.78 crore, ADR national coordinator Anil Verma said.

The increase was lowest, 83%, for CPI, from Rs 5.56 crore to Rs 10.18 crore, he said. The value of BSP's assets has gone up over 1,100% from Rs 43.09 crore to Rs 559.01 crore, and that of NCP's from Rs 1.6 crore to Rs 14.54 crore (808%), Verma added. “While details are specific under fixed assets, loans and advances, FDRdeposits, TDS and investments, details are not available about assets under the heading `other as sets',“ he said. “The... assets of the seven national parties from 2004-05 to 2015-16 have had the highest rise under `other assets' among all asset heads -from Rs 108.655 crore to Rs 1,605.114 crore,“ Verma said, “BJP has the highest capital at present after declaring (assets worth) Rs 868.889 crore, followed by Rs 557.38 crore of BSP and Rs 432.64 crore of CPM,“ Verma said.

Regional parties’ incomes, 2015-16

DMK richest regional party, AIADMK second, says ADR, Oct 28 2017: The Times of India


An analysis of incomes during 2015-16 has shown that 32 regional parties in total got Rs 221.48 crore, of which Rs 110 crore remained unspent. This is more than 49% of their total income. DMK had the highest income at Rs 77.63 crore.

The figures, analysed and released by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), found that during 2015-16, DMK had the highest income of Rs 77.63 crore among all regional parties, followed by AIADMK at Rs 54.93 crore and TDP at Rs 15.97 crore.

The ADR report noted that the top three regional parties with the highest expenditure were JD(U), which spent Rs 23.46 crore, TDP (Rs 13.10 crore) and AAP (Rs 11.09 crore).

14 out of 32 regional parties reported incurring expenditure more than their total income. Three parties, JVM-P (Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik), JD (U) and RLD have spent close to 200% of their total income during 2015-16.

DMK, AIADMK and AIMIM (All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen) have more than 80% of their income re maining unspent, it said.

ADR said during 2015-16, the total income of DMK (Rs 77.63 crore) forms 35.05% of the total income of all 32 regional parties considered for the report.

“The top three parties which declared highest income are DMK, AIADMK and TDP, amounting to a total of Rs 148.54 crore. This comprises more than 67% of the total income of 32 regional parties, collectively ,“ the ADR report noted.

Among the top five parties, which have reported spending the highest overall amount, JD(U) spent the maximum, Rs 14.03 crore on elections, followed by TDP which spent the highest, Rs 8.93 crore on administrative and general expenses. AAP spent Rs 5.116 crore, the highest on propaganda expenses.

There are 47 regional par ties out of which 15 have not submitted their audit report for 2015-16 to Election Commission of India, till date, including SP and RJD, the Delhi-based think tank said.

Total income (from known and unknown sources) of 18 regional parties during 2015-16 was Rs 206.21crore.Total income of parties from known donors was Rs 90.74 crore. Also, total income of parties from other known sources (sale of assets, membership fees, among others) was Rs 74.86 crore.

Besides, total income of parties from unknown sources (income specified in I-T returns whose sources are unknown), for 2015-16 was Rs 40.61 crore, which is 20% of the total income of the parties from all over India, it said. Out of the 18 parties, JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) is the only regional party not to declare any income under unknown sources during 2015-16.

Six regional parties have more than one unknown source of income while eleven have only one unknown source. Parties with highest unknown sources of income are TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) (Rs 7.24 crore), TDP (Rs 6.88 crore) and SAD (Rs 6.59 crore).

The bank balances of political parties

2018: BSP, SP, Cong, TDP and then BJP

Pradeep Thakur, At Rs 670 crore, BSP has biggest bank balance among parties, April 15, 2019: The Times of India


The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has the biggest bank balance among all parties, according to official records. The expenditure report submitted by BSP to the Election Commission on February 25 states that it has Rs 669 crore deposited in eight accounts in branches of public sector banks in the national capital region.

The party, which scored a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has also declared Rs 95.54 lakh as cash in hand. The expenditure report is based on details of the central kitties of parties. Samajwadi Party, occupies the second slot with Rs 471 crore in its bank accounts. The party’s cash deposits dipped modestly after the recent assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana, coming down by Rs 11 crore.

Congress takes third spot with Rs 196 crore in bank balance. However, this is based on the details the party submitted to the EC on November 2 last year after the conclusion of assembly polls in Karnataka. The party has not updated the details about its reserves after it won the state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

BJP occupies fifth position with a bank balance of Rs 82 crore, and lags another regional outfit, Telugu Desam Party which has shown a deposit of Rs 107 crore.

The amount shown by BJP looks rather small considering that it is way ahead in mopping up contributions, including through electoral bonds. A possible explanation comes from the details it has submitted. The party has claimed to have spent Rs 758 crore — the largest expenditure by any party — of the Rs 1,027 crore it had raised in 2017-18.


87% of parties’ income through contributions

The SP’s cash reserves dipped by Rs 11 crore during the November-December polls for the four assemblies of Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan and Telangana. In contrast, BSP, which collected Rs 24 crore during these elections, saw its reserves improve from Rs 665 crore to Rs 670 crore.

According to an analysis of income tax returns of these parties, carried out by Association for Democratic Reforms, BJP showed the highest income with contributions worth Rs 1,034 crore for 2016-17 and Rs 1,027 crore in 2017-18. During the same period, BSP’s income nosedived from Rs 174 crore to Rs 52 crore. Congress’s income for 2016-2017 is shown as Rs 225 crore. It has not declared its income in the subsequent financial years to the EC. CPM has declared an income of over Rs 100 crore on an average in each of the last few financial years. About 87% of the income of these parties is through voluntary contributions, with BJP being the only one to have shown a gain of Rs 210 crore through electoral bonds in 2017-18.

Black money power

The extent of the problem

May 4th 2014: The Economist

Black money power

Everyone knows the elections are costly. The shame is that no one knows the price, nor who is paying

WITH seven of nine phases of voting finished, there is still argument about the “Modi wave” that looks likely to bring Narendra Modi of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) surging to victory. Is it in fact a tsunami, to sweep away the Congress party and its allies—or something less than a ripple, as a Congressman claims hopefully? Landfall is due May 16th, when the results are tallied.

In the past few months (as in November 2017), at least 14 of India’s biggest industrial houses have taken advantage of a new law to set up electoral trusts, hoping to make wavelets of their own by giving money to their favourite political parties. The legal framework for these trusts was introduced in January 2013, ostensibly with the idea of bringing transparency to the way campaigns are funded. For the first time, in this election private firms can donate money to political parties without any restriction—in exchange for disclosing what they have donated.


Wave or not, there has been an immense sloshing to and fro: picture the elections as a dark sea of liquid assets, mostly undocumented cash (and a lot of liquor too), overspilling the dykes that were meant to keep it in check. An estimate by the Centre for Media Studies in Delhi puts the total cost of this season’s campaigns for seats in India’s parliament and state assemblies at $4.9 billion. That would make it the second-most expensive in world history, trailing just behind America’s of 2012, which cost $6 billion. According to some estimates India’s election will cost even more; total expenditures could exceed 0.35% of national GDP. The money raised by the electoral trusts is only 2.2% of the total reported by the parties; a drop in the bucket—but a limpid drop, with its donors and recipients clearly labelled.

In America the game of raising and spending billions in pursuit of maximising vote share is called “campaign finance”. The understanding is that the citizens and firms who give money to politicians seeking office will seek to influence the candidates who become public servants. Regulation (at which America’s Supreme Court is chipping away) is supposed to protect everyone from the donors’ influence, mainly by means of keeping tabs on who gives money to whom.

India strikes a more puritanical pose. Here the term of art is “money power” and it is the role of the state to eliminate it, lest the better-funded candidates benefit against their rivals. The Election Commission (EC) takes its mission to be curbing the role of money power, as well as that of “muscle power”—the kind that threatens physical safety of the voters and voting apparatus.

Money power has proven to be the more powerful by far. The EC sets limits on both fundraising and expenditures, but they are laughably ineffective. Political parties and candidates must break the rules in order to stand a chance of winning. This drives them into the arms of the criminal underworld, especially at the local level: that is where they find the men who have ready access to the “black money” that escapes the official banking sector, and the networks to disperse it.

A former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is often cited as having said that “every legislator starts his career with the lie of the false election return he files”. The cap set by the EC has been revised upwards but never beyond a pitiful fraction of what it takes to be competitive. This year the limit is 70 lakh (7m) rupees ($115,000) per campaign for a parliamentary seat. In fact a candidate might spend 50 to 100 times more money than that, if he hopes to win. Even the Chief Election Commissioner knows it.

In a remarkably frank conversation sponsored in 2012 by a think-tank, the Observer Research Foundation, parliamentarians from both Congress and the BJP discussed spending as much as 20 crore rupees ($3.3m) to win seats where the official limit is 16 lakhs ($26,000). The EC obsesses over the rare cases in which they catch candidates overspending. It chases them around the districts, totting up the costs they can see and adjusting the candidates’ filings by a few lakhs. Where the margins of error are vast, enforcement is capricious. One candidate’s jeep is stopped for using two loudspeakers instead of one; meanwhile a national party takes out front-page ads on every daily newspaper the day Delhi goes to the polls. (Maddeningly, there is no limit to what the parties may spend.)

There is almost nothing a politician cannot use to try buying a voter’s loyalty in the days before an election. The most visible expenditures are the least of it: transport, billboards, seats and refreshments for rallies—this is what catches the EC’s watchful eye. But discreet wads of cash and chits for liquor are the mainstays of this shadow economy. The EC stops vehicles during the election and bust up safehouses, boasting of its haul. “Foreign currency worth 92 lakh in Bihar”; in the southern states alone 161 crore rupees; more than 13m litres of alcohol. In all 2.6 billion rupees have been seized. As in the “war on drugs”, such seizures are hard to celebrate. And don’t forget drugs: also 104 kg of heroin—especially useful in Punjab, a centre of addiction. More wholesome gifts abound elsewhere, including fried chickens and stacks of saris. “An Undocumented Wonder”, an engaging new book by a recent EC chief, lists 40 ways to beat the expenditure police (#34: “Distributing free seeds and manure”). As for other forms of free bullshit, legitimate media costs are rising everywhere too, especially online and on cable TV. So is “paid media”, a polite term for bought coverage.

The indignity of a democracy fuelled with free booze is perhaps a distraction. Whatever spending is used to sway sceptical voters, their votes are cast freely. Even in a notorious state like Bihar, a strong majority believes in the sanctity of the secret ballot (cited here, p 129). It is still the case that no amount of money can guarantee victory. There is still a pure competition for votes—as well as for money.

The rules that govern contributions are even flimsier, and ultimately more dangerous. They make it a mystery who pays India’s politicians. E. Sridharan, the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for the Advanced Study of India, explains that it began in 1969, when Indira Gandhi ran a socialist government that faced a serious challenge from Swatantra, a pro-business party. She banned corporate donations outright, and ever since the parties’ scrounging for monies has gone below-board. Reforms in 1985 made it possible for firms to give up to 5% of their average net profit from the past three years directly to parties. But today 93.8% of the income reported by Congress, and 91.3% of the BJP’s, comes from unlisted sources.

Black money pours through many loopholes, but one is so gaping as to make the others redundant: parties are not required to account for any contribution worth less than 20,000 rupees ($330). In practice, this means they are not required to account for any contributions whatsoever: 100,000 rupees can be given in five blocks of 20,000 each (or 19,999, to be fastidious) and so on. Then the only hurdle to moving it into the pockets of the voters is the physical transfer of banknotes; hence the EC’s obsession (and occasional success) waylaying lorries stuffed with cash.

An area of darkness

The academics who try to measure campaign funds devise ingenious proxies for this invisible movement. Having noticed that real-estate developers are especially dependent on the favour of elected politicians, in a famous study from 2011 Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav found a cyclical correlation between election seasons and the price of cement. With all of their available resources poured into politicians’ campaigns, the builders have nothing left to spend on building. (Sure enough, this quarter the biggest cement-makers are complaining of weak demand.) Mr Vaishnav is curious to see whether zoning certifications rocket after this election.

Others count the losses run by sugar mills in Maharashtra, to see how certain industries boost their liquidity when elections are nigh. The exercise threatens to become comical, and the democracy cynical. Adani Enterprises, an industrial giant based in Mr Modi’s home state, seems to be flying their favoured candidate to his rallies every day. Adani’s valuation has shot up 30% this year, no obvious thanks to its fundamentals but perhaps with thanks to the expectation that Mr Modi will form the next government.

None of the parties are eager to tackle the problem of opaque financing. The new, reformist Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is an exception. With no sordid past to haunt them, they have called on all parties to adopt their practice of identifying all donors, no matter how small. Amounts of less than 20,000 rupees might have been a pain to tally back in the 1970s, but with modern computing power the AAP seems capable of doing so gracefully. (The odds against their winning many seats are equally impressive.)

Transparency is the chokepoint. The new electoral trusts are supposed to marry the public good of audited contributions with the private good of audited business expenses. Tata Group, India’s biggest business house, established the model in 1996. Many of Tata’s firms are publicly listed; the original point was to help them account openly for their contributions. The new law means that any company that calls a subsidiary an “electoral trust” can use it to make tax-deductible donations to any party in any amount.

As India’s big businesses become bigger and more international in their reach, the great hope is that their internal needs for fair auditing will restrain them from muddying the waters of Indian democracy. Jagdeep Chhokar, a founder of the non-profit Association for Democratic Reform, is doubtful. He reckons the new electoral trusts are but another ruse on the part of the political and corporate players; everyone in the game has too much to gain by keeping it hidden. At present there is nothing to keep black money (which is already tax-free) from pouring into campaign coffers in parallel with anything that goes into a spruced-up trust.

Coming clean would certainly cost these firms in the short term, if only for the reason that they would have to admit to both national parties—the BJP and Congress—that they are also giving to their opponent. So presumably they would owe more to each if they were to achieve the same influence, as American corporations tend to do to the Democrats and Republicans. Mr Sridharan points out that of the 36 firms that gave funds legally to either the Congress or BJP, 24 gave funds to both. They are not about to relinquish their money power. But were they to reveal how much they are giving, and to whom, they would be giving the ordinary voter something very valuable indeed.

Corporate funding

Elections, funding of

The Times of India, July 24, 2011

Jagdeep’s Chhokar

Who should pay for elections? Not the state

The persistence of the political establishment has to be admired. Just as it has successfully prevented all attempts at instituting any effective check on corruption for 42 years now, it has been trying to bring in state funding of elections for 37 years. And now, a new attempt is underway.

The law minister announced in December 2010 that regional and national consultations on electoral reforms would be held all over the country in association with the Election Commission. The last of the seven regional consultations was held in Guwahati on June 5, 2011. The national consultation, originally scheduled for July, is yet to happen.

Without waiting for the consultation process to be over, the law ministry has prepared a draft Cabinet note, proposing state funding for women and SC/ST candidates, and circulated it to several ministries for comments. The note repeatedly stresses that there has been “complete unanimity on the need for curbing the role of money power in elections”, thereby creating an impression that, by association, the unanimity was on state funding of elections, whereas state funding was consistently opposed by no less a person than the chief election commissioner (CEC) himself in all the seven regional consultations.

With the concluding national consultation being expected within the next month, what’s the need to initiate the note now? Another question: is the outcome of these consultations pre-determined? If yes, then why hold the consultations?

The draft Cabinet note uses two clever stratagems to make a beginning towards its aim of getting full state funding for elections. The first is the “footin-the-door” technique. The note proposes state funding only for women and SC/ST candidates, for now. The actual intention comes through in a paragraph that says, “Keeping in view the overall interest and the economic and financial scenario in the country, it may not be desirable to consider full state funding at this juncture.” It is obvious that full state funding is intended to follow at some suitable juncture in the future.

The other stratagem is to link the proposal for state funding with a persistent demand—disqualifying people with criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections. This provision comes with several safeguards which have a strong potential of rendering it toothless in implementation. Repeated reports, commissioned by the government itself, have unambiguously recommended that state funding of elections should not even be thought of, before some pre-requisites such as internal democracy in political parties and complete transparency in their financial affairs is ensured.

The most cited report in this connection is that of the Indrajit Gupta committee submitted in 1999. The paragraph of this report, quoted most often by the political establishment, says, “The committee sees full justification, constitutional, legal as well as on grounds of public interest, for grant of state subvention to political parties, so as to establish such conditions where even the parties with modest financial resources may be able to compete with those who have superior financial resources.” This clearly gives the impression of the well-endowed political parties being in sympathy with their less-endowed brethren.

Those who quote the above paragraph overlook, intentionally or otherwise, the opening paragraph of the “conclusion” of the same report which says, “Before concluding, the committee cannot help expressing its considered view that its recommendations being limited in nature and confined to only one of the aspects of the electoral reforms may bring about only some cosmetic changes in the electoral sphere. What is needed, however, is an immediate overhauling of the electoral process whereby elections are freed from the evil influence of all vitiating factors…. Meaningful electoral reforms in other spheres of electoral activity are also urgently needed”.

The Law Commission, in its 170th report, the most comprehensive document on the subject, titled “Reform of the Electoral Laws, said in June 1999: “…(I)t is absolutely essential that before the idea of state funding (whether partial or total) is resorted to, the provisions suggested in this report relating to political parties (including the provisions ensuring internal democracy, internal structures) and maintenance of accounts, their auditing and submission to Election Commission are implemented…. (T)he implementation of (those) provisions…should be pre-condition to the implementation of the provisions relating to partial state funding…. If without such preconditions, state funding, even if partial, is resorted to, it would not serve the purpose underlying the idea of state funding… The state funding, without the aforesaid pre-conditions, would merely become another source of funds for the political parties and candidates at the cost of public exchequer… The state funding, even if partial, should never be resorted to unless the other provisions mentioned aforesaid are implemented lest the very idea may prove counter-productive and may defeat the very object underlying the idea of state funding of elections”.

The dangers of state funding have not only been pointed out by government appointed committees and commissions but also by the Election Commission, and by CECs individually. Former CEC, J M Lyngdoh said: “That is a useless thing. It is a red herring. It doesn't help anybody.” The current CEC, S Y Quraishi said, “State funding is dangerous. It will not stop illegal expenses…State funding will not stop illegal expenses. In fact, more money will be available to the candidates.”

The proposal to introduce state funding for a section of the candidates, despite all the cautions and warnings, does make one wonder about the real intentions behind the move. There are no prizes for guessing the answer, and one wonders if the change of the law minister will change anything.

Biggest corporate donors: 2004-2012

Source: ADR, through The Times of India

Birla group largest donor to BJP's poll fund

The Times of India Himanshi Dhawan,TNN | Jun 26, 2014

NEW DELHI: Industrialist Aditya Birla, who came under investigation by the CBI in the coal allocation case, was the largest contributor to BJP donating Rs 7.50 crore through his General Electoral Trust in 2012-2013. The Trust had donated Rs 26.6 crore to the BJP between 2004-2005 and 2011-2012.

Incidentally, Birla's name came up for investigation during the last months of the UPA regime. The Birla group did not make any contribution to Congres in the last financial year after being its top donor with a donation of Rs 36.4 crore between 2004-2005 and 2011-2012.

The Tata group — that was the fourth largest contributor for Congres donating Rs 10 crore and fifth for BJP with a contribution of Rs 6.9 crore between 2004-2012-- did not figure in the top 20 contributors for either party last year. Vedanta group that operates the Public and Political Awareness Trust contributed Rs 10 crore to Congres between 2004-2012 but shied away from donations to the party in 2012-2013. It gave Rs 6.9 crore to BJP in the last 7 years and Rs 5 crore in this fiscal year.

Mumbai-based Lodha Dwellers Pvt ltd and Ahmedabad-based Torrent Power were the other top donors to the saffron party during 2012-2013 according to advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that analyzed income and expenditure statements submitted by six national political parties for 2012-2013 to the Election Commission.

While Lodha Dwellers contributed Rs 6.99 crore, Torrent Power gave Rs 6.57 crore to the BJP. Torrent Power continued its trend of donating to both party coffers as it had done in previous years. It was only slightly less generous to Congres donating Rs 3.50 crore followed by Torrent Pharmaceuticals (Rs 1.50 crore) and Hyderabad Industries who donated Rs 50 lakh. Torrent had contributed Rs 11.9 crore to Congres and Rs 13 crore to BJP in fiscal 2004-2005 and 2011-2012.

Six national political parties including Congres, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPM earned a total income of Rs 991.20 crore in financial year 2012-2013 of which only 10% were above Rs 20,000.

Political parties are required to submit details of donations received above Rs 20,000 from all over India, to the Election Commission, annually. Parties must provide details of the name, address, PAN, mode of payment and amount contributed by each donor who has made donation above Rs 20,000. ADR report said that details of 703 donors were not declared in the donations statement, who had contributed a total of Rs 11.14 crores to the national parties. BSP, for instance, declared that the party received no donations above Rs 20,000 last year as it had declared since 2004-05.

Congres received the highest contribution with Rs 425.69 crore followed by BJP with Rs 324.16 crore. CPM declared a total income of Rs 126.09 crore followed by BSP (Rs 87.63 crore). NCP said their income last year was Rs 25.56 crore followed by CPI's Rs 1.07 crore.

Corporate sector topped the list of contributions with 72% or Rs 70.97 crore to the national parties followed by individual donations with 17% or Rs 17.01 crore.

While Congres' earnings came from sale of coupons (73%) of its total income, BJP's income was from voluntary contributions which constituted 83%.


Election funds given by the bigger corporates to the two maor parties. The Times of India

2012-13: big donors prefer BJP over Congres

Did big donors pick BJP over Congres?

In 2012-13, Saffron Party Collected 83Cr, Its Rival 11Cr, Show Papers Filed With EC

Election funding2.jpg

Pradeep Thakur TNN The Times of India

New Delhi: The BJP’s coffers had started swelling much before support for its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi turned into a wave. The party collected a record Rs 82.82 crore from declared donors in 2012-13, leaving the ruling Congres trailing in its wake with just Rs 11.42 crore in the same period.

This was revealed in the latest contribution reports submitted by parties to the Election Commission (EC) in which they have to declare donations in excess of Rs 20,000. While BJP’s contribution report runs into 188 pages, and was among the last few to be filed with the EC on March 26, the Congres report ends in 49 pages.

These contributions, however, are just a fraction of what the parties actually receive. Up to 90% of the funds of these parties come through sale of coupons and other sources where donors’ names are not disclosed. BSP has claimed year after year that all its donations are less than Rs 20,000 each. Like BSP, other parties such as Trinamool Congres and AIADMK have said they did not receive any contribution above Rs 20,000.

NCP and CPM are among those yet to submit their contribution reports, sources said. CPI declared Rs 37 lakh in contributions and named its donors.

The income of parties for 2012-13 will be known only after a year when they file their I-T returns. As of now, the 2012-13 contribution reports are the latest available data on parties’ income.

A request is pending with the Central Board of Direct Taxes to investigate the accounts of all major parties which have together earned more than Rs 4,900 crore between 2004-05 and 2011-12. The Association for Democratic Reforms, which has analysed parties’ income through their I-T returns, has petitioned CBDT to probe these anonymous donors.

The biggest beneficiary in the eight years has been Congres, having collected more than Rs 2,300 crore, followed by BJP with a total income of Rs 1,300 crore. BSP, which claims all its donors are anonymous, collected Rs 497 crore. CPM collected Rs 521 crore, NCP Rs 201 crore and CPI Rs 10 crore.

2013-14: India Inc provided 90% of funding

2013-14: Donations received by national political parties: India

The Times of India

Dec 25 2014

90% of political fundings in 2013-14 came from India Inc'

Who funds political parties? Corporates do.According to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 90% of political funds have been contributed by corporates or business houses. Roughly about half the amount donated to political parties came from Delhi followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat. This is based on declaration of donations submitted by parties to the Election Commission. While BJP is yet to submit details of its donors for 2013-2014 to the Election Commission, three national parties -Congress, NCP and CPI-received 517% more funds than the previous year (2012-2013).

Total donations received by national parties were Rs 76.93 crore from 881 donations. Incidentally , dona tions to Congress increased from Rs 11.72 crore during FY 2012-13 to Rs 59.58 crore during FY 2013-14 (408% increase). Donations declared by BJP during 20012-2013 were more than the aggregate declared by Congress, NCP, CPI and CPM during 2013-2014.

ADR founder-trustee Jagdeep Chhokar said, “90% of donations coming from corporates show the increasing hold of the corporate sector on political parties which is somewhat disconcerting.The ruling party not submitting its donation report is not a good sign as it possibly indicates a lack of respect for integrity of institutions which is not healthy for a democracy .“

A total of Rs 45.49 crore was donated to national parties from Delhi by both corporates and individuals together followed by Rs 18.12 crore from Maharashtra and Rs 3.01 crore from Gujarat.

Donations, limits on/ regulations

2018: ₹2,000 is the limit for cash donations

Don’t donate more than ₹2,000 in cash to parties: I-T, January 24, 2018: The Times of India


The income tax department cautioned people, through advertisements on leading dailies, against indulging in illegal cash transactions, including donating more than Rs 2,000 in cash, to political parties. In a bid to clean up election funding, the government early this year had notified ‘electoral bonds’ that can be bought from specified branches of the SBI and used to donate money to political parties. This is the first public advisory that the department or its policy-making body CBDT has issued vis-a-vis political donations.

Electoral trusts

2019: TCS donates ₹220 cr

Shilpa Phadnis, Avik Das, TCS gave Rs 220 crore to electoral trust in Jan-Mar, April 13, 2019: The Times of India


TCS said it gave Rs 220 crore ($31.2 million) to an electoral trust in the fourth quarter ended March, which it accounted under other expenses in its profit and loss account. This appears to be one of the highest donations the company has ever made towards electoral funding.

It is not clear which parties benefited from the contribution.

Tata group companies, including TCS, have in the past given money to electoral trusts. TCS previously gave money to the Progressive Electoral Trust, which was set up by Tata Trusts in 2013. The Trust has funded multiple political parties and between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2016, it had funded Congress the most, followed by Biju Janata Dal. During that period, TCS had contributed only Rs 1.5 crore.

India has a number of electoral trusts, which are intermediaries between corporates and political parties. The biggest of these is the Prudent Electoral Trust, where the biggest contributors are the Bharti Group and DLF. In 2017-18, Prudent gave almost all the money it generated – Rs 144 crore of Rs 169 crore – to the BJP.

As per the annual report filed by the Tatas’ Progressive Electoral Trust with the Election Commission of India, it made no contribution to any political party during fiscal 2017-18 and has a deficit of Rs 54,844.

Foreign funds

2018: Funds received since 1976 not to be scrutinised

Foreign poll funding won’t be scrutinised, March 19, 2018: The Times of India


The Lok Sabha has passed, without debate, a bill that will exempt political parties from scrutiny of funds they have received from abroad since 1976.

The Lok Sabha passed 21 amendments to the Finance Bill 2018 amid opposition protests. One of them was an amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, that bans overseas corporations from funding parties.

The RPA, which lays down rules for polls, bars parties from accepting foreign funds. The Centre had, through the Finance Bill 2016, amended the FCRA to make it easier for parties to accept foreign funds. Now, it has amended it further to remove scope for scrutiny of a party’s funding since 1976. PTI


FCRA violation: BJP, Cong can avoid fallout of HC ruling

In the Finance Act, 2016, in Section 236, in the opening paragraph, for the words, figures and letters ‘the 26th September, 2010’, the words, figures and letters ‘the 5th August, 1976’ shall be substituted, the Lok Sabha website said listing amendments to Finance Bill 2018 approved on Wednesday. The retrospective amendment will help BJP and Congress escape the fallout of a 2014 Delhi high court judgment that held both guilty of violating the FCRA. The FCRA was passed in 1976. It defined a company — Indian or foreign — registered abroad or with subsidiaries abroad as a foreign firm. It was later repealed and replaced with FCRA, 2010.

The BJP government through the Finance Act, 2016, changed the definition of a foreign company by saying a firm with less than 50% of share capital held by a foreign entity would no longer be a foreign source any more. This amendment also came into effect retrospectively from September 2010. Before the change approved last week, foreign funds received by a political party before September 26, 2010, when the FCRA was enacted, were open to scrutiny.

Once Clause 233 in the Finance Act 2016 was passed, BJP and Congress simultaneously withdrew appeals in the SC against a Delhi HC verdict that held them in violation of the law on foreign funding.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday adopted the annual Budget for 2018-19 by passing the Appropriation Bill, which authorises government departments to spend money from the Consolidated Fund of India, and Finance Bill, which contains taxation proposals.

The approval without debate came even though three weeks remain for the current budget session of Parliament. First two weeks of the session have been almost a washout due to protests over the PNB fraud and other issues by the opposition.This is only the third time since 2000 that Parliament has approved the budget without debate. PTI

The retrospective amendment will help BJP and Congress escape the fallout of a 2014 Delhi HC judgment that held both guilty of violating the FCRA

History

Congress MPs, CPI, CPI-M leaders received Soviet money

January 30, 2017: Business Standard


The trend continued till Rajiv Gandhi's rule. Even CPI, CPI-M leaders received money

The Soviets pumped huge amounts of cash to influence Indian politicians, including a large number of Congress MPs during former prime minister Indira Gandhi's government, to influence Indian policies, according to a now declassified December 1985 CIA report.

This continued into the Rajiv Gandhi rule, although he tried to reduce the influence of Moscow on India, says the report.

The confidential 24-page memo, redacted heavily with lots of pages removed, also notes that the Soviets funded opposition parties including the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the CPI-Marxist "through a combination of kickback schemes, normal business transactions and direct cash payments".


"In addition to party funding, the Soviets channel money to individual Congress and opposition politicians (through) clandestine payments. This cash is reportedly obtained from the favourable Soviet trade balance," said the document titled "The Soviets in India", which is one of the millions of CIA memos declassified recently.

"As many as 40 per cent Congress MPs in (Indira) Gandhi's last government had received Soviet political contributions," the report reads.

"The Soviet embassy maintains a large reserve of rupees for various uses - including clandestine payments to Congress politicians? Many Congress politicians are also businessmen who trade with the USSR."

It says that the Soviets had also been orchestrating political activities of at least a dozen front groups in India -- including the Indo-Soviet Cultural Society, the local affiliate of the World Peace Council and a professional journalists' organisation.

The 1985 document notes that the Soviet Union over the last three decades had "developed a substantial capacity to plan and orchestrate large-scale propaganda and disinformation campaigns involving the placement of article with the major Indian wire services and a wide range of Indian newspapers".

It said that the Soviet had "considerable success in putting the United States on the defensive in its diplomatic and commercial dealings in India" because American officials in New Delhi would devote "much time and effort" to rebut Soviet articles in the pres

The report named several leading Indian newspapers, including the Times of India, the Hindustan Times, the Statesman and the Hindu as often carrying Soviet propaganda without questioning the source, although often in their editorial stance the mainline newspapers did not buy much of the propaganda.

The report quoting a defector (possibly Vasili Mitrokhin) said that the Soviets use 40 to 50 journalists annually to place material and over the last several years had used around 200 to 300 journalists for this purpose. It said that the focus of the Soviets was to place stories in the mainline press against the United States, but also in favour of the India government.

It said that pro-soviet papers like the Patriot or the Blitz used the material but the Indian public by and large did not place much credibility in them. It said many Indian papers were reluctant to use stories without sources, so the press section spent a lot of effort to "develop a bogus source" for a story.

Another technique was to place material with an Indian news agency which would run it with a Moscow dateline as its own story so that newspapers could run it. The CIA report said the Soviets had "immense success" using this technique with the Press Trust of India whose "key managers" were "on Soviet paroll." It also named United News of India and Samachar, as well as Communist party controlled small agencies as being used for placing Soviet stories.

The CIA report quoted two Soviet defectors as saying that they had so much success with the main agency for placement of stories that among Soviet officials the joke was that PTI stood for "Press Tass of India."

The press section of the Soviet Embassy in New Delhi was the central point for press placements operations in India and its various arms employed hundreds of Indians to further its propaganda, the report said.

The press section regularly carried out campaigns and one such campaign, it said, even "jeopardized completion of a trade deal between the Indian government and a US firm". Also, often reports accusing the United States of aiming to "balkanize" India appeared. Some placements by the Soviets even accused the US of orchestrating assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The revelations of the CIA report almost appear to corroborate a 2005 book by former KGB operative Vasili Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin claimed to have smuggled thousands of secret documents out from the erstwhile USSR. The documents said that Gandhi was sent money in suitcases for the Congress and the KGB had funded election campaigns of former defence minister V K Krishna Menon in the 1970s.

After-effects of the 1969 ban on corporate donations

E. Sridharan and Milan Vaishnav, The resilience of briefcase politics, February 4, 2015: The Indian Express


Sridharan is academic director of the University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI) in New Delhi.

Vaishnav is an associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.


After-effects of the 1969 ban on corporate donations to political parties linger.

In 2014, India commemorated several important anniversaries — the 125th anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth and the 30th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and of the horrific anti-Sikh riots that followed, to name just two. But 2014 also marked the anniversary of another milestone in Indian politics, one that was completely forgotten but continues to affect Indian democracy in ways that the nation is still struggling to grapple with.

Forty-five years ago, in 1969, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi convinced Parliament to amend the Companies Act and impose a total ban on corporate giving to political parties. The ban signified a critical juncture in the evolution of India’s electoral regime, eliminating the most important legal source of election funds. Without providing an alternative financing mechanism (such as state funding), Gandhi’s decision — far from abolishing the link between business and politics — effectively pushed campaign finance underground, an affliction that exists to the present day. Today, it’s an open secret that the opaque funding of elections represents the single-biggest driver of political corruption and criminality in India.

To be fair, the ban was enacted amid genuine consternation over political corruption. As early as 1964, the government-appointed Santhanam Committee warned of the corrosive effects of collusion between businessmen and politicians. Indeed, Gandhi herself sought to justify the ban as a monumental effort to curb cronyism.

In reality, however, she was more likely motivated by proximate political concerns. The aim of the ban, as Prem Shankar Jha put it, was not to ensure the Congress a “secure above-board source of funds in the future, but to cut off the flow of funds to its rivals”. Gandhi, alarmed by the swell of corporate support for right-wing opposition parties like the Swatantra Party and the Jana Sangh, as well as the threat the business-friendly Syndicate posed to her leadership within the Congress, yearned to cut them down to size.

However, unlike what transpired in many European democracies during this period, the government did not substitute private sources of party funds with state-funding of elections or party expenses. As a result, the ban created a financial vacuum that was filled by black money, institutionalising a corrupt equilibrium in which politicians allocated licences necessary to operate in an increasingly dirigiste economy in exchange for under-the-table “donations”.

This was part and parcel of a larger attempt to put business in its place and reassert the primacy of the state. In quick succession, Gandhi nationalised India’s banks and its domestic coal industry and imposed sweeping new restrictions on business. In spite of these acts, Gandhi cynically calculated that big business would still donate to the Congress, albeit covertly, fearing its ability to use its political and regulatory power as a cudgel to discipline businesses who refused to play ball.

On this score, Gandhi was on target. The ban ushered in an era of “briefcase politics”, in the words of Stanley Kochanek. Inflation, coupled with intensifying political competition, led to an arms race in election expenditures and the consolidation of a corrupt political finance regime in which ruling parties that controlled the regulatory levers of power maintained an advantage in fund-raising.

Moreover, the ban spurred the rise of individuals and organisations, especially those with criminal backgrounds, who had access to unaccounted money and were thus sought after by parties for their ability to discreetly aggregate and distribute cash. In the initial decades of the republic, the Congress had contracted with all manner of lawbreakers and mercenaries to quietly manage elections. Now, such characters were openly embraced by Congress leaders — and soon, by all other parties — as political candidates in their own right, thanks to their financial resources.

Many years later, in 1985, recognising the folly of the ban, the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi once again legalised corporate giving, but corporate contributions remained under the table. By this stage, the exchange of political favours for illicit cash had become so deeply entrenched that re-legalisation garnered little support. Companies had little incentive to be transparent as it could prompt retribution from politicians or parties that had not received funds. Parties remained opposed because the prevailing system minimised accountability to funders or party members.

Fast forward to the present day and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reports that 75 per cent of the income of India’s six major parties comes from undocumented sources. Around half of these funds came in a period of four months around elections, largely in cash (for the Congress, this figure stood around 90 per cent). But party resources are a drop in the bucket because candidates are expected to foot the vast majority of their campaign expenditures. Ironically, while politicians of all stripes complain about unrealistically low campaign spending limits, candidates also routinely report spending just over half what they are legally entitled to (in reality, campaign spending exceeds the prescribed limit by several orders of magnitude).

Furthermore, despite claims that 2014 marked India’s “good governance” election, a record number of MPs with criminal records (34 per cent) now grace the halls of the Lok Sabha. Twenty-one per cent of these lawmakers face serious charges like murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping. The historical and empirical evidence is clear that the electoral success of “muscle” is due, at least in part, to the advantages of money. Finding an exit from this morass is not easy, but India has options. The Narendra Modi government can begin by introducing rules and transparency to limit discretion in heavily state-regulated domains (such as land, natural resources, real estate, mining, and defence acquisitions). Absent this, no amount of political finance regulation is likely to have much impact. Beyond the economy, Parliament must close large regulatory loopholes that enable dishonest reporting, such as the provision for unlimited and undisclosed third-party spending on candidates. Furthermore, the Election Commission requires new statutory authorities, such as the power to mandate complete transparency for political contributions. Right now, parties need not declare the source of any donation less than Rs 20,000, ceding a party like the BSP the ability to not disclose the identity of a single donor in the past eight years.

Finally, there is the oft-discussed issue of public funding of elections. Until parties adopt strict rules on transparency and intra-party democracy, public subsidies are likely to do more harm than good. This is the grand bargain many European democracies have struck, and is a deal worth exploring.

But unless a farsighted Central government can champion such reforms, the after-effects of the ill-fated 1969 ban on company donations are likely to be felt long after its 45th anniversary.

Income tax laws/ Sec 13A of I-T Act

Legal provisions (taxation)

The Times of India

Dec 18 2016

Enough provisions in I-T Act to scrutinise parties' funds: Tax dept


Political parties have not been granted any exemption post demonetisation and the introduction of the new law to tackle black money, which kicked in on December 15, finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

“Income and donations of political parties fall in the purview of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and there is no change in its provisions. In this era of instant outrage, a 35-year-old law is presented as a new law being passed by the NDA government,“ the FM said in a statement that reflected the government's annoyance with reports suggesting that the present regime was responsible for the tax exemption for the political class.

Under Section 13A of the I-T Act 1961, political parties have to submit audited accounts, income and expenditure details and balance sheets. “Just like anyone else, political parties can also deposit their cash held in the old notes in banks till December 30 (the deposit deadline), provided they can satisfactorily explain the source of income, and their books of accounts reflect the entries prior to November 8,“ he said.

He added that if there was any discrepancy , political parties were as liable to be questioned by the income tax authorities as anyone else. “They enjoy no immunity whatsoever,“ he said.

“There is no question of sparing anyone, and the political class is no exception. In fact PM Modi is setting a new example of propriety in public life, by asking all MPs and MLAs of BJP to submit their bank account details post demonetisation. We would like to urge the other parties to do the same,“ Jaitley said.

Earlier, the tax department said there were enough provisions in the I-T Act to scrutinise the accounts of political parties, and they were also subject to other provisions of tax laws, including filing of returns.

The clarification came after some reports “wrongly suggested“ that there could not be any scrutiny of I-T returns of political parties registered with the Election Commission in the context of the deposit of old notes.“This inference seems to have been drawn because of the fact that the income of the political parties is exempt from income tax under Section 13A,“ the department said. It added that the exemption from income tax was given only to registered parties, and subject to certain conditions, which include maintaining books of accounts. .

“In respect of each voluntary contribution in excess of Rs 20,000, each political party will have to maintain a record of such contributions along with the name and address of (the) person who has made such contribution,“ the department said.


Exemption for Congress

The Times of India, Aug 02 2016

Dhananjay Mahapatra

SC seeks Centre's response on denying Cong tax relief in '94-'95

Congress had got exemption from paying income tax under Section 13A o f the I-T Act for the last 30 years except for 199495 and that is haunting it now as the process got lengthy and the tax determination became erratic.

Appearing for Congress, senior advocate Mohan Parasaran said the party had been allowed exemption from filing income tax returns from 1986-87 till 2014-15, the only exception being 1994 95. “Though there is substantial compliance with the provisions of Section 13A of I-T Act for the assessment year in question, the exemption was denied to Congress on account of procedural formalities that have been complied with,“ Parasaran said.

Immediately after Congress lost power at the Centre in 1996, the assessment officer on March 31, 1997 computed the total income at Rs 25.12 crore. Congress appealed against it before the commissioner of income tax, which determined the net income at Rs 15.85 crore. Congress appealed against this before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the matter was sent back to the assessing officer. The I-T department then appealed against the ITAT order before the Delhi HC.

When the appeal was pending, the assessing officer on March 31, 2003 passed an order determing the taxable income at Rs 1.44 crore. On appeal, the I-T commissioner on December 9, 2004, when the Congress had returned to power, assessed the taxable income at Rs 38.38 lakh.

Congress appealed to the ITAT, which issued certain directions leading to ultimate determination of a loss of Rs 60.23 lakh to the party during 1994-95, which was earlier determined at Rs 25.12 crore. But the process came to naught when Delhi HC on March 23 this year denied tax exemption under Section 13A to the party for that year and affirmed non-admissibility of evidence taken into account by CIT and ITAT.


Income tax exemption: SC upholds/ 2017

AmitAnand Choudhary, `Nothing illegal in tax exemption for parties', Jan 12, 2017: The Times of India


Political parties will continue to enjoy income tax exemption for the funds they collect as the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that there is no illegality in the exception made to keep parties out of the tax net.

The decision puts to rest the debate over whether the exemption was an unfair privilege granted to political parties. The apex court said the matter was one of executi ve determination and parties needed money to propagate their beliefs.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud dismissed a public interest litigation challenging the constitutional validity of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act which grants exemption to political parties.

The issue had gained salience in the context of PM Narendra Modi's push for reforms in political funding. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had linked the push to the anti-black money objectives of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. The SC also turned down the plea to make it mandatory for political parties to declare the source of all money received.But as Modi's recent speeches indicate, this is an area that is likely to be reviewed soon.

While the government seems ready to consider lowering the current limit of Rs 20,000 for anonymous donations, there is no indication that it is could consider reviewing the tax exemption. There is a move to de-register parties that have been inactive and are suspected to be using their status largely to launder unaccounted and illegal money .

Section 13A of the IT Act says any income of a registered political party which is chargeable under the head “income“ from house property or from other sources or any income by way of voluntary contributions received by a political party from any person shall not be included in the total income of the previous year of such political party .

Challenging this provision, advocate M L Sharma contended exempting political parties from paying tax is illegal, unconstitutional and against national interest. He alleged that there are 1,848 registered political parties and they misused the law to hold unaccounted money . “Political parties are supposed to be main chest of the black money in the country .Till date no investigation, search, enquiry has been conducted against any one of the political parties as they are in power to control all investigation systems. It is admitted fact that all the political parties are holding black money under the garb of political funding,“ he said in his plea.

The bench, however, was not convinced and said political parties need to generate fund from public to propagate their ideologies. There is noth ing arbitrary or unconstitutional about the provision and it was for the government of the day to decide who to grant exemption and the court should not interfere with the policy.

“This is a matter of executive determination. How can we decide? When the tax regime was introduced, the government chose on how and what income was to be taxed. It also decided who should be exempted,“ the bench said. The petitioner, however, insisted that the term “political party“ was not recognised in the Constitution. The bench replied that not everything needs to be mentioned in the Constitution and even the term Hindu undivided family is not in the Constitution but is recognised under tax law.

“It is for the government to decide whom to exempt under income tax law,“ the court said.

In respect of voluntary contribution, the parties are to maintain record of name and address of donors only in case when the contribution is in excess of Rs 20,000.

Income tax returns/audited reports

2016-17: BJP, Congress delay submission; third year in a row

BJP, Cong delay submission of I-T info to EC again, February 8, 2018: The Times of India


For the third year in a row, the two largest national parties — BJP and Congress — have delayed the submission of audited reports of income. An analysis of income tax returns by national parties to the Election Commission of India by ADR states that till February 7, both BJP and Congress were yet to submit their audit reports for the fiscal 2016-17.

The analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) found that while BSP, CPM and Trinamool Congress submitted their reports on time, NCP submitted it 22 days late. Both BJP and Congress are 99 days behind schedule. In the financial year 2015-16, the two were late by 209 and 252 days respectively while in 2014-15, the delay was by 133 and 153 days.

Interestingly, BJP’s income for the year 2016-17 was the highest among all the national parties. The party had declared a total income of about Rs 571crore but is yet to submit its copy of income tax returns for 2016-17 to the election commission of India (ECI), stated ADR. The due date for submission of annual audited accounts for the parties was October 30, 2017.

Five national parties, BSP, NCP, CPI(M), CPI and Trinamool Congress, declared a total income of almost Rs 300 crore. BSP declared a total income of Rs 173 crore during the financial year 2016-17, but spent only 30% of the total income. Trinamool declared a total income of Rs 6 crore during this period but spent almost Rs 18 crore. The NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) also incurred an excess expenditure of close to Rs 8 crore over its total income of Rs 17 crore during FY 2016-17.

Grant, donation or contributions of close to Rs 121crore declared by the five national parties forms 40% of the total income of the parties during FY 2016-17.

Sources of funds

2004-19: 53% unknown sources, 47% known

2004-19: donations to political parties by known and unknown sources, and electoral trusts.
From: March 29, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

2004-19: donations to political parties by known and unknown sources, and electoral trusts.

YEAR-WISE DETAILS

2004-15: Funds received

Cong got 83% of funds from unknown donors, BJP 65%, Jan 25, 2017: The Times of India

Income of national and regional parties from fiscal 2004-05 to 2014-15


AAP, Left Failed Probity Standard, BSP Declared No Contributor

In the eleven years between 2004-05 and 2014-15, political parties of all colours -including ones which swore by transparency-got contributions worth more than $1billion (Rs 6,800 crore) from unknown sources, a study by an independent think tank says. The historic financial `performance' of these parties which raked in more than Rs 11,000 crore in total income (this includes the Rs 6,800 crore) during this period will add to the gathering momentum for a consensus among parties to clean up political funding.

The Congress, ruling party at the Centre most of these years, made around Rs 4,000 crore, 83% of this from unknown donors. Details of these patrons weren't provided to either the Election Commission or the incometax department.

The BJP that formed government at the Centre in May 2014 followed close. Its income was Rs 3,273 crore during this period -65% of it from unknown sources.

Surprisingly, the Aam Admi Party, formed in 2013 on the plank of eliminating corruption from elections and ensuring transparency in political funding, together with the CPM and the CPI did not shy away from receiving funds from `unknown' donors. While 57% of AAP's Rs 110 crore collected in the three years (2013-2015) was from unknown sources, the CPM's 53% of total income of Rs 893 crore in 11 years was from contributors who are unknown.

The BSP, which collected Rs 764 crore, did not declare a single donor. It used a clause in the Representation of the People Act that makes it mandatory for parties to disclose donors only if individual contributions exceed Rs 20,000. The party maintained each of its donations was below this mark. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO working for probity in elections, the Congress and the BJP account for over 63% of the total income of Rs 11,367 crore of all national and regional parties.

The ADR study is based on the audited accounts and contribution statements submitted by parties to the EC and the I-T department.A closer scrutiny of the flow of funds showed that in the period covered, party coffers remained unaffected even by the dip in the country's economic fortunes.

Jagdeep Chhokar, ADR founder member and a former IIM Ahmedabad professor, said 69% of the total income of all parties is from unknown sources, which is around Rs 7,800 crore in 11 years. “Donor details should be made available for public scrutiny under RTI,“ Chhokar demanded, and observed that this is important for strengthening of parties, elections and the democracy .

There's some hope that the NDA government may initiate electoral reforms and make parties accountable with PM Narendra Modi last month backing EC recommendations to bring an end to anonymous donations. The PM supported the EC's demand saying his `government was committed to implement whatever decision is taken in the interest of people'.

2004-15, in elections

The Times of India, May 24 2016

Parties amassed 63% of funds in cash during 2004-15 polls

While the rest of the world has switched to plastic, political parties still lay premium on cash. Cash collections accounted for a significant 63% of total funds or over Rs 2,100 crore garnered by various political parties during all state assembly polls between 2004 and 2015 and 44% in the three Lok Sabha elections during 2004-15.

Data analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed the parties collected Rs 2,107 crore during 71 state assembly elections in this period. During the Lok Sabha elections held in 2004, 2009 and 2014, cheque payments accounted for the highest collection at 55% (nearly Rs 1,300 crore), while cash accounted for Rs 1,039 crore. In state polls, funds col lected through cheque payments were Rs 1,244.86 crore between 2004 and 2015.

SP trumped others in terms of amount collected and spent during these state polls.The party collected Rs 186.8 crore and spent Rs 96.54 crore. AAP, which has contested two assembly elections till date, came second with Rs 38.54 crore as total funds collected and Rs 22.66 crore expenditure.

The survey , which details the funds collected and expenditure incurred by regional parties, noted that SP, AAP, AIADMK, BJD and SAD together collected Rs 267.14 crore, 62% of the total funds declared by all the regional parties, during the 2004, 2009, and 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“SP topped the charts with Rs 118 crore as collection and Rs 90.09 crore as expenditure. Despite contesting only in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP came second in terms of collection by declaring Rs 51.83 crore.AIADMK is placed third with Rs 37.66 crore,“ ADR said about the three Lok Sabha polls.

The analysis is based on statements submitted by the national and regional parties to the Election Commission of India. These statements contain information of funds collected and spent between announcement and completion of elections. In terms of expenditure, the reverse is true. In the three Lok Sabha polls, 83% of spending, or Rs 2044.67 crores, was through cheque while this percentage was 65% during assembly polls. “India is the least trans parent country when it comes to funding of political parties,“ Professor Trilochan Sastry of IIM Bangalore, a founder-member of ADR, said.

The survey , which details the funds collected and expenditure incurred by regional parties, noted that SP , AAP , AIADMK, BJD and SAD together collected Rs 267.14 crore, 62% of the total funds declared by all the regional parties, during Lok Sabha polls.

According to EC guidelines, parties should not make any expenditure above Rs 20,000 in cash but there is no provision in the expenditure format for the parties to declare expenses below or above Rs 20,000, ADR said.

“Hence, it appears that the parties are taking advantage of the opacity in the expenditure statements to collect and spend funds in cash,“ the survey adds.

2011-16

SP richer by 198%, ADMK by 155%

SP’s assets rose by 198% in 5 years, ADMK’s by 155%, reveals ADR report, March 10, 2018: The Times of India


Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, All India Forward Bloc and the Shiv Sena are the only major regional parties that show a steady increase in their annual declared assets. The total assets of AIADMK between financial year 2011-12 and 2015-16 increased by 155% (Rs 88 cr to Rs 225 cr) while that of Shiv Sena increased from about Rs 21 cr to over Rs 39 cr (92%). The figures were released by transparency watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its analysis of the report on assets and liabilities filed by the parties to the Election Commission of India.

The report by ADR was accompanied by another report on the trend of NOTA in the past five years since its introduction in 2013. It found that NOTA has secured the highest percentage of votes in Naxal-affected constituencies of Chhattisgarh.

It also found that in the last five years, NOTA has secured 1.3 crore votes in state assemblies and Lok Sabha elections combined. During this period, on an average NOTA secured 2.7 lakh votes in the state assembly elections.

ADR’s report on assets and liabilities found that during FY 2011-12, the declared asset of SP was Rs 213 cr which increased by 198% to Rs 635 cr during FY 2015-16. The ADR report says that while YSR Congress was registered in March, 2011 and AAP in November, 2012, the average assets declared by the these two parties during FY 2012-13 was just over Rs 1 crore which increased to Rs 3.7 cr during FY- 2015-16.

2012-16: Funds donated by corporate houses

Corporates donated Rs 956.77 crore to national parties in 4 years: Report, Aug 17, 2017: The Times of India

Donations above Rs 20,000 to national parties from corporate houses, 2012-15, top donors of BJP and INC for 2012-16; The Times of India, August 18, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

Among national parties, BJP received the maximum donation of Rs 705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors

Indian National Congress received Rs 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors


NEW DELHI: Corporate houses have donated a total of Rs 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16,constituting 89 per cent of the total contribution from known sources, with BJP receiving the maximum Rs 705.81 crore, says a report.

Among the national parties, the BJP received the maximum donation of Rs 705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors followed by INC (Indian National Congress) which received Rs 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors, the report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Thursday, citing filings of political parties made to the Election Commission.

NCP received Rs 50.73 crore, followed by CPM (Rs 1.89 crore) and CPI (Rs 0.18 crore).

BSP was not considered for analysis in the report as the party has declared that it received no voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 from any donor between 2012-13 and 2015-16.

"Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of Rs 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 out of which 89 per cent of Rs 956.77 crore was from corporates/business houses," ADR said.

According to an earlier report by ADR, various business houses donated a total of Rs 378.89 crore to national parties, constituting 87 per cent of the total contribution from known sources in eight years, between financial years 2004-05 and 2011-12.

Political parties are required to submit details of donors who have made donations above Rs 20,000 in a financial year to the Election Commission of India, every year. Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, BJP's and INC's voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 from corporate/business houses was 92 per cent and 85 per cent, respectively, the report said.

CPI and CPM have the lowest share of corporate donations at 4 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. National parties received the maximum corporate donations in 2014-15, during which Lok Sabha elections were held, the report by the Delhi-based ADR said.

Corporate donations received in 2014-15 alone form 60 per cent of the total corporate donations received between 2012-13 and 2015-16, it added. It further said that donations from corporates to national parties reduced by 86.58 per cent between 2014-15 and 2015-16. "Despite not donating during 2012-13, Satya Electoral Trust was the top donor to three of the national parties, between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The Trust donated a total of 35 number of times in 3 years, amounting to Rs 260.87 crore" ADR said. BJP declared receiving Rs 193.62 crore while INC was the recipient of Rs 57.25 crore of funds from the Trust.

General Electoral Trust, which was formed before the Electoral Trust Scheme was launched by the government in 2013, was the second highest corporate donor to BJP and INC. Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, the Trust donated Rs 70.7 crore and Rs 54.1 crore to the two national parties, respectively, ADR said.

The top donors to the Communist parties were 'Associations' or 'Unions'. CPI received a total of Rs 14.64 lakh from 15 different associations/unions while CPM received a total of Rs 1.09 crore from seven different associations.

Contributions from corporate/business houses have been divided into 14 sectors by ADR and does not form a part of the submission made by parties to ECI. The sectors include Trusts and group of companies, manufacturing, oil and power, mining, construction, exports/imports, real estate, among others. Real estate sector was the biggest donor to the national parties during 2012-13, contributing Rs 16.95 crore.

Trusts and groups of companies with varied interests in mining, real estate, power and newspapers, among others, donated the highest amount of Rs 419.69 crore, between 2013-14 to 2015-16, to the national parties.

BJP, INC and NCP, all three received the maximum contributions from Trusts and group of companies. BJP received the highest, Rs 287.69 crore from Trusts and group of companies, followed by INC (Rs 129.16 crore) and NCP (Rs 15.78 crore). BJP received the highest donations from all 14 sectors including real estate (Rs 105.20 crore), mining, construction, exports/imports (Rs 83.56 crore), chemicals/pharmaceuticals (Rs 31.94 crore), among others.

As per the report, a total of 1,933 donations through which national parties received Rs 384.04 crore do not have PAN details in the contribution form.

"99 per cent of such donations without PAN and address details worth Rs 159.59 crore belong to BJP," the report alleged. Political parties reported receiving 262 donations worth Rs 10.48 crore from such corporate entities who have zero internet presence or if they do, there is ambiguity about the nature of their work, ADR said.

2012-16: BJP first preference for donation

Rumu Banerjee, BJP emerges as top choice for corporate donors, Aug 18, 2017: The Times of India


HIGHLIGHTS

BJP received the maximum donation of Rs 704.81 crore

Indian National Congress received Rs 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors

NEW DELHI: Business houses handed out a total of 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16 with BJP getting the biggest share at 704.81 crore, shows an analysis by the election watch body Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The report, which analysed funding received by five national parties- BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI and CPM-found that Congress received 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors, and was the second highest beneficiary from corporate donations. NCP received 50.73 crore, followed by CPM ( 1.89 crore) and CPI ( 0.18 crore). ADR added that BSP was not considered for analysis as the party has declared that it received no voluntary contributions above 20,000 from any donor between 2012-13 and 2015-16.

"Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above 20,000 out of which 89 percent of 956.77 crore was from corporates houses," said ADR in its report.

According to an earlier report by ADR, various business houses donated a total of 378.89 crore to national parties in eight years, between financial years 2004-05 and 2011-12. All the data analysed was from the EC, based on filings by political parties to the EC. Political parties are required to submit details of donors who have made donations above 20,000 to the EC.

Talking about the findings, Trilochan Sastry, one of the founder members of Association of Democratic Reforms, said, "This could be last analysis that ADR does as rules have changed." "With the introduction of election bonds, information on contributions made to national parties may not be accessible any more," he said. As per the report, a total of 1,933 donations through which national parties received Rs 384.04 crore do not have PAN details in the contribution form. National parties also received Rs 355.08 crore from 1,546 donations which do not have address details in the contribution form.

In the period analysed, BJP's and Congress' voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 from business houses was 92% and 85%, respectively. CPM and CPI have the lowest share of corporate donations at 17% and 4 per cent.

National parties received the maximum corporate donations in 2014-15, during which Lok Sabha elections were held, found the report. "Corporate donations received in 2014-15 alone form 60% of the total corporate donations received between 2012-13 and 2015-16," adds the report. Donations from corporates to national parties reduced by 86.58% between 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The big contributors to the national parties were electoral trusts and groups of companies, followed by the manufacturing and real estate sector. "Despite not donating during 2012-13, Satya Electoral Trust was the top donor to three of the national parties, between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The Trust donated a total of 35 number of times in three years, amounting to Rs 260.87 crore," says the ADR report.

2013-14: contributions vs expenditure

The Times of India

Feb 12 2015

Pradeep Thakur

EC for probe into LS poll funding

The Election Commission (EC) is in the process of sending donation details of all political parties to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for a probe by the income tax authorities to ascertain whether entities making contributions were genuine. What has rattled the poll watchdog is the huge expenditure made by some of the leading parties during the Lok Sabha elections in March-May last year, disproportionate to their declared sources of income.

BJP, which claimed it received Rs 363 crore in 2013-14 (up to March 31), has shown an expenditure of Rs 714 crore during the LS polls. The donations declared by parties are those in excess of Rs 20,000 each. Except for DMK, none has declared total contributions received in the last fiscal. DMK has revealed that it got Rs 80 crore, but its individual donations in excess of Rs 20,000 were to the tune of Rs 77 lakh only . Congress spent more than Rs 516 crore during the parliamentary polls, according to the EC. However, information submitted to the Commission show total contribution declared by the party at Rs 59 crore. The remaining list of donors has not been made available.

Similar was the case with NCP which received Rs 15 crore in contributions for which it has furnished details to the Commission.

But its overall expenditure during the Lok Sabha polls was Rs 51 crore.

Mayawati-led BSP has said it did not receive a single contribution which was above Rs 20,000. But the party’s expenditure was Rs 30 crore during the LS polls. The Aam Admi Party, which drew a blank in Delhi during the parliamentary polls, has so far not submitted any expenditure details.

It is mandatory for political parties to report all their contributions received in a financial year before the date of filing of their Income Tax returns. In 2013-14, the due date was extended to November but the BJP was the last to submit its report on December 20.

Delaying submission of contribution reports beyond the due date can lead to parties facing penal action such as withdrawal of their I-T exemption and payment of tax on such contributions.

Even with the partial disclosure of contribution, leading national parties seem to have made a windfall in the LS election year.

The Congress received Rs 12 crore in disclosed contributions in 2012-13 which increased to over Rs 59 crore in 2013-14. The BJP received Rs 83 crore which increased to Rs 363 crore during the same period.

2014: receipts and expenditure

The Times of India Mar 03 2015

2014: receipts and expenditure.

LS poll-eve NaMo blitz cost BJP Rs 700 crore: ADR

The Modi blitzkrieg unleashed before the Lok Sabha polls cost BJP over Rs 460 crore in publicity , with total spending going up to Rs 712 crore. In comparison, Congress spent Rs 486.21 crore and NCP was a distant third, spending Rs 64.48 crore.Over a decade (2004-2014), funds collected by national parties increased by 418% while spending went up 386%. The national parties considered for the report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) are BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, and CPM. Total funds collected by the parties during the LS elections held in 2004 was Rs 223.80 crore while during the LS 2009 polls donations increased by 282%, to Rs 854.89 crore. In 2014, funds increased by 35.53% to Rs 1,158.59 crore.

Predictably , BJP declared the highest amount of funds collected during the 2014 LS polls. The party declared collecting Rs 588.45 crore over 75 days of the election period followed by Congress, which collected Rs 350.39 crore, NCP with Rs 77.85 crore and BSP with Rs 77.26 crore. CPI declared the least funds collected (Rs 9.52 crores).

The saffron party was also the highest spender in the 2014 polls. The party declared expenses of Rs 712.48 crore over 75 days followed by Congress at Rs 486.21 crore, NCP at Rs 64.48 crore and BSP at Rs 30.06 crore. CPI declared the least amount of poll expenditure (Rs 6.72 crores).

Total spending incurred by parties during the 2004 LS polls was Rs 269.42 crore, which rose by 225% to Rs 875.81 crore. Expenses on the 2014 polls increased by 49.43% to Rs 1,308.75 crore. Spending over a decade increased by 386%.

Over a period of 10 years, parties spent half their bud get on publicity (50.58%), 19.68% on travel expenses, 15.43% on candidates and 14.31% on other expenses.

During LS 2014, BJP declared spending Rs 463.17 crore on publicity while Congress spent Rs 346.41 crore, NCP declared a bill of Rs 30.98 crore, BSP of Rs 12.75 crore while CPM and CPI spent Rs 4.94 crore and Rs 0.72 crore respectively .

2014> 2015

39%: rise in donations

The Times of India, Apr 20 2016

Top sources of income for 6 national parties, 2014-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Apr 20 2016

Income of 5 big parties rises by 39% to Rs 1,275cr in one yr


Income of five national parties -BJP, CPI, CPM, NCP, BSP -increased by 39% to Rs 1,275 crore last year with more than half the funds from unknown sources. The steepest increase was registered by BJP.

An analysis of income and expenditure accounts by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) provides a cumulative figure for the five parties though CPI actually registered a decline in income.

The income of political parties increased from Rs 920 crore in 2013-2014 to Rs 1,275 crore in 2014-2015 with BJP being the biggest gainer with a rise of 44% from Rs 673 crore to Rs 970 crore. CPI is the only party whose income decreased from Rs 2.43 crore in 2013-2014 to Rs 1.84 crore in 2014-2015.

Congress's income is missing as it did not submit audited accounts to the Election Commission though the deadline to do so was November 30, 2015. Grant, donations, contributions or funds collected by parties was the top source of income, forming 88% of their total income.

BJP declared most income from donations which amounted to Rs 940 crore fol lowed by BSP with Rs 92 crore and NCP with Rs 38 crore.Out of the total income of Rs 1,275 crore declared, other sources of income amounted to Rs 116 crore which formed only 9.14% of the total income of the parties.

Parties also declared unknown sources of income for instance donations below Rs.20,000, sale of coupons, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions, contribution from meetings, morchas.

The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain.

Total income of political parties from unknown sources (income specified in the IT Returns whose sources are unknown), for the FY 2014-15 is Rs 685 crore, which is 54% of the total income.

So how did the parties spend their funds? The maximum expenditure for BJP has been towards advertisement and publicity which amounted to Rs 471 crore followed by expenses towards travelling at Rs 209 crore.

NCP spent the maximum of Rs 67 crore on election expenditure followed by expenditure of Rs 13 crore on administrative and general expenses and Rs 1.30 crore on depreciation and amortisation expenses. CPM spent the maximum on employee cost while BSP spent on election expenses.

Donations to parties increase 151%

The Times of India, Dec 08 2015

Donations to parties jumped 151% in 2014-15, says ADR


Donations to po itical parties increased by 151% this year as compared to the last year, but details regarding donors continue to remain elusive.

National political parties received Rs 622.38 crore from 1,695 donations in 2014-2015, as compared to Rs 247.77 crore collected last fiscal. While Congress did not disclose cheque or DD numbers for 192 donations amounting to Rs 138.98 crore (that's 98% of its contribution), BJP did not give the PAN card number, address and mode of contribution for 20 donors who contributed an amount of Rs 83.91 lakh.

Political parties rely heavi y on donations for contesting elections and running their daily affairs. They receive huge sums of money in the form of donations from corporates or business houses, trusts and individuals. Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, mandates that political parties submit their contribution details in excess of Rs 20,000 received from any person or a company to the Election Commission of India annually , in order to enjoy 100% tax exemption, which has been analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) With 1,234 donations from individuals and corporates, BJP tops the list and has declared a total of Rs 437.35 crore as received via voluntary contributions of above Rs 20,000.The donations declared by BJP are more than twice the contributions declared by Congress, NCP, CPI and CPM in the same period.

BSP declared that the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2014-15, as it has been declaring for the past 10 years.

Among donations, NCP appears to have recorded the highest increase -from Rs 14.02 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 38.82 crore in 2014-15 -while donations to BJP increased from Rs 170.86 crore to Rs 437.35 crore in the same period (156% increase).

Bharti group's Satya Electoral Trust was among the top donors, donating Rs 132 crore to BJP, Congress and NCP.

Satya Trust said in a statement attributed to Mukul Goyal: “We are an independent trust and are not a Bharti group trust. During the year 2014-15, Bharti group had contributed only Rs 31 crore to our trust, out of a total of approximately Rs 141 crore worth of contributions received by us from various corporates which included Hero Motocorp Ltd, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd, GMMCO Ltd , National Engineering Industries Ltd Orient Cement Ltd, DLF Ltd JK Tyres and Industries Ltd India Bulls Housing Finance Ltd, Kalpataru Power Trans mission Ltd etc. A total of 18 corporates contributed during the year 2014-15 . These contri butions were utilised for giving political donations across political parties during the said year.“

The Trust donated Rs 107.25 crore to BJP (25% of total funds received by the party), Rs 18.75 crore to Congress (13% of tota funds received by the party and Rs 6 crore to NCP .

General Electoral Trus had not made any donations to national parties last year, bu contributed a total of Rs 117.30 crore to BJP and Congress.

While BJP received Rs 63.2 crore (14% of tota funds received by the party) Congress received Rs 54.10 crore (38% of total funds re ceived by the party) from the Trust during 2014-15.

Funding, party-wise

The Times of India, Apr 26 2016

19 parties got Rs 177 crore from 6 trusts

Nineteen political parties received Rs 177.4 crore from six electoral trusts in 2014-15, with BJP receiving the maximum share of Rs 111.4 crore (63%), followed by Congress with Rs 31.7 crore (18%) and NCP Rs 6.8 crore (4%), reports Himanshi Dhawan.

Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd, DLF Group and Bharti Airtel emerged as significant contributors to BJP while Tata Group and CEAT Limited donated to Congress last year, according to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms.

2015-16

2015-16: Rise in anonymous donations

The Times of India, Dec 21 2016

`Most of small donations are from unknown sources'


India's seven national political parties received Rs 102 crore as donations above Rs 20,000 -the limit for receiving anonymous donations -from 1,744 donations in 2015-2016, with BJP receiving the maximum of Rs 76 crore from 613 donors.

The donations declared by BJP add up to thrice the ag gregate declared by Congress, NCP, CPI, CPM and Trinamool Congress for the same period. The parties are required to identify donations and donors above the Rs 20,000 limit. Congress received the second-highest amount -Rs 20 crore -from 918 donations, according to an analysis of donation details by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). The funding details have been submitted by political parties to the Election Commission.

In a separate analysis, ADR found political party funding consisted predominantly of cash which constituted 63% of the funds in the 11-year period from 2004 to 2015. However, the relatively smaller amounts re ceived above Rs 20,000 disclosed by political parties disclosed by political parties indicate that most funding is through unknown sources.

The amount of funding received by political parties below Rs 20,000 is not yet known as Congress and BJP have still not submitted their income tax returns to the EC. BSP declared the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during 2015-16 consistent with its declarations for the past 10 years. Interestingly, total donations of national parties decreased by Rs 528 crore this year, a sharp decrease of 84%, from the previous financial year 2014-15.

NCP declared the steepest decrease of 98%, from Rs 38 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 71 lakh in 2015-16 while donations to BJP decreased from Rs 437 crore during 2014-15 to Rs 76 crore during 2015-16, an 82% decrease. BJP's donations had increased by 156% between 201314 and 2014-15 while that of Congress had increased by 137% during the same period. As far as cash donations are concerned, parties during 2014-15 declared receiving only Rs 89 lakh in cash which formed 0.14% of the total donations above Rs 20,000. This in creased to Rs 1.45 crore from 112 donations of the total Rs 102.02 crore during 2015-16. This formed 1.42% of the total donations of the parties. Maximum donations in cash were declared by Congress, which collected a total of Rs 1.17 crore from 10 states and Union Territories followed by CPI with Rs 22.22 lakh from 12 states and UTs and BJP with Rs 51,000 from only Bihar.

Among all the states, donors from Karnataka made the highest donations of Rs 80 lakh in cash followed by donors from Meghalaya who donated a total of Rs 21.54 lakh in cash.Both the top donations were made to Congress.

2015-16: receipts by the top 7 parties

The Times of India, Dec 21 2016

Donations declared by 7 national parties in 2015-16; The Times of India, Dec 21 2016


BJP gets lion's share of donations above Rs 20k

India's seven national political parties received Rs 102 crore as donations above Rs 20,000 -the limit for receiving anonymous donations -from 1,744 donations in 2015-2016, with BJP receiving the maximum of Rs 76 crore from 613 donors.

The donations declared by BJP add up to thrice the ag gregate declared by Congress, NCP, CPI, CPM and Trinamool Congress for the same period. The parties are required to identify donations and donors above the Rs 20,000 limit. Congress received the second-highest amount -Rs 20 crore -from 918 donations, according to an analysis of donation details by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). The funding details have been submitted by political parties to the Election Commission.

In a separate analysis, ADR found political party funding consisted predominantly of cash which constituted 63% of the funds in the 11-year period from 2004 to 2015. However, the relatively smaller amounts re ceived above Rs 20,000 disclosed by political parties disclosed by political parties indicate that most funding is through unknown sources.

The amount of funding received by political parties below Rs 20,000 is not yet known as Congress and BJP have still not submitted their income tax returns to the EC. BSP declared the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during 2015-16 consistent with its declarations for the past 10 years. Interestingly, total donations of national parties decreased by Rs 528 crore this year, a sharp decrease of 84%, from the previous financial year 2014-15.

NCP declared the steepest decrease of 98%, from Rs 38 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 71 lakh in 2015-16 while donations to BJP decreased from Rs 437 crore during 2014-15 to Rs 76 crore during 2015-16, an 82% decrease. BJP's donations had increased by 156% between 201314 and 2014-15 while that of Congress had increased by 137% during the same period. As far as cash donations are concerned, parties during 2014-15 declared receiving only Rs 89 lakh in cash which formed 0.14% of the total donations above Rs 20,000. This in creased to Rs 1.45 crore from 112 donations of the total Rs 102.02 crore during 2015-16. This formed 1.42% of the total donations of the parties. Maximum donations in cash were declared by Congress, which collected a total of Rs 1.17 crore from 10 states and Union Territories followed by CPI with Rs 22.22 lakh from 12 states and UTs and BJP with Rs 51,000 from only Bihar.

Among all the states, donors from Karnataka made the highest donations of Rs 80 lakh in cash followed by donors from Meghalaya who donated a total of Rs 21.54 lakh in cash.Both the top donations were made to Congress.

2015-16: earnings of leading parties

Muhammad Zulqarnain Zulfi, Income of 5 national parties Rs 200 crore in 2015-16, says ADR report, May 9, 2017: The Times of India


HIGHLIGHTS

5 out of 7 national parties have declared a total income of Rs 200.76 cr, collected from all over India.

CPM has shown the highest income amongst the parties with a total income of Rs 107.48 cr during FY 2015-16.

BSP declared the second highest income of Rs 47.385 cr

NEW DELHI: A recent report by a Delhi-based think tank has revealed that during 2015-2016, total income of five national parties - Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (Marxist)(CPM), Communist Party of India (CPI) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)- was slightly over Rs 200 crore.

However, the main political parties Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) have not filed their audit reports yet.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) along with National Election Watch (NEW) undertook detailed analysis of income and expenditure of national plitical parties for seven national parties, including AITC, which was declared a national party in September 2016.

As per the report, total income of five national parties (BSP, NCP, CPM, CPI and AITC) during financial year 2015-16 stood at Rs 200.76 crore, of which only 2.37 per cent i.e., Rs 4.75 crore was received from known donors.

Another 66.92 per cent of the total income, i.e. Rs 134.35 crore, was received from other known sources such as sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc. The remaining, 30.71 per cent i.e. Rs 61.66 crore, of their income, is from unknown sources.

A party-wise analysis has revealed that among the national parties, the CPM received Rs 45.14 crore, and the AITC received Rs 9.72 crore from unknown sources. Also, CPM has shown the highest income amongst the national parties with a total income of Rs 107.48 crore while BSP ranks second with income of Rs 47.385 crore and CPI could manage only Rs 2.176 crore during the FY 2015-16.

The report also pointed out that India's largest political fronts - BJP and Congress- have failed to submit their audit reports.

"As on 1st May, 2017, BJP and INC have not yet submitted their audited reports to the ECI, almost six months after the due date for submission," the report said.

The due date for submission of annual audited accounts for the parties was October 31, 2016.

"AITC, CPM and BSP were the only three national parties to submit the audit reports on time. CPI submitted its audited report on November 17, 16 days after the due date for submission, NCP submitted its audited report on March 1, 2017, almost four months after the due date for submission," the report said.

2015-16: 95% of electoral trusts' donations to BJP

Rumu Banerjee, 95% of donations from electoral trusts went to BJP, August 30, 2017: The Times of India


Overall Funding Dipped In FY16

Electoral trusts, which are required to donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year, gave away Rs 49.50 crore during financial year 2015-16. Of this, the lion's share went to BJP, with the rest going to Congress and JD (U).

This was revealed by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Tuesday , based on an analysis of the annual reports submitted by electoral trusts to the Election Commission of India.

As per EC rules, Electoral trusts are required to submit details of contributions and donations to the EC in a financial year.

The donations, totalling Rs 49.5 crore in 2015-16, were made by just two --Satya Electoral Trust and Samaj Electoral Trust--out of a total 18 registered with the tax department, Of the Rs 49.50 crore that was donated, Satya Electoral Trust donated Rs 47 crore while Samaj Electoral Trust donated Rs 2.52 crore.BJP got 95.74% of Satya Electoral Trust's kitty, that is, Rs 45 crore, with the rest, Rs 2 crore, going to Congress. In the case of Samaj Electoral Trust, BJP got 39.68% or Rs 1 crore, with the rest, Rs 1.5 crore , going to Janata Dal (United).

ADR added that the Trusts received a total Rs 49.52 crore from corporates and distributed 99.96% of the total amount to various political parties. The total donations received by politi cal parties through this route fell sharply in 2015-16, from Rs 177.4 crore in the previous fiscal.

JSW Steel Ltd contributed the maximum amount of Rs 25 crore to Satya Electoral Trust, which formed 53.19% of the Trust's total donations, followed by Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Power Ltd.

Each of them donated Rs 10 crore and constituted 21.28% each of total donations to Satya Electoral Trust, the ADR report said.

Sutlej Textiles and Industries Ltd contributed the maximum amount of Rs 1 crore, which formed 39.68% of total donations to Samaj Electoral Trust, followed by Sil Investments Ltd which donated Rs 75 lakh and constituted 29.76% of total donations to the Trust, ADR said.

The names of Electoral Trusts, currently , do not indicate the name of the company or group of companies which set up the Trusts.

2015-16/ BJP bags 55% of funds

Rumu Banerjee, BJP bags 55% of funds, more than other nat'l parties jointly, Sep 7, 2017: The Times of India

`Unknown Sources' Top Contributions

Reflecting its current political dominance, Bharatiya Janata Party not only managed to get more political donations than other six national parties put together in 2015-16 but also increased its share, cornering over 55% of all funding compared to 51% in the previous year.

Though the volume of donations to the national parties fell 41% from Rs 1,869 crore in 2014-15 to 1,033 crore, BJP and Congress mopped up over 80% of contributions with CPM being the only other national party with more than Rs 100 crore funding, data collated by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows.

But as in the past, an analysis of income tax returns of the parties showed that “unknown sources“ of income -where the source of donations under Rs 20,000 was not disclosed -accounted for a majori ty of contributions as BJP and Congress relied on coupon sales, relief fund and contributions from meetings and morchas. Of the 19% of the fund ra ising for BJP from known sources -where details of the donors have been disclosed to the Election Commission -donations of over Rs 20,000 added up to around Rs 77 crore (13% of the total income). In contrast, Congress earned over one-fifth of its income in 2015-16 (Rs 55 crore) through sale of assets, membership fee, interest on bank deposits and sale of publications.

A little over Rs 20 crore, which was less than 8% of its total income, was from donations of over Rs 20,000, where names have been disclosed. Interest income is one aspect where Congress beats the BJP on the income front, having earned close to Rs 45 crore during 2015-16, compared to a little under Rs 20 crore for BJP.

Cleaning up political funding has been identified as a key thrust area by BJP government, which has decided to ban funding of over Rs 2,000 in cash. Besides, bonds are also to be introduced to protect the identity of the donors, which the government argued results in cash donations.

2016: Impact of demonetisation

Cash in hand increases

The Times of India, Dec 11 2016

Bank balance of major political parties, 2015-16, details; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Dec 11 2016

Pradeep Thakur

The demonetisation drive and the consequent opposition din in Parliament serve to highlight the opaque funding system of political parties that receive most of their funds in cash, deposit them in banks, and issue cheques for up to 90% of the money collected.

TOI studied the latest audited accounts of the parties and found most to have plenty of cash in hand. The cash in hand and bank balance of UP's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) was Rs 583 crore as on March 31, 2016. Its main rival BSP has a bank balance of Rs 514 crore. While BSP collected all the funds from `unknown donors', mostly in cash, SP too received the majority of its donations in cash and from contributors who don't find mention in any record book.

The two leading national parties, BJP and Congress, too have, year-after-year, collected huge monies -the cash in hand and bank balance of BJP was Rs 653 crore and that of Congress Rs 601 crore as on March 31, 2015. BJP and Congress have not filed audited accounts with the Election Commission (EC) for the financial year ending March 31, 2016, much beyond the deadline. Congress has been reluctant to furnish the audited accounts, and wrote several times to the EC questioning its jurisdiction in implementing such transparency measures.

Far from cleaning their stables, these parties are vigorously fighting it out in court to retain the right to receive contributions from unknown donors and claim tax exemptions too. When Congress was detected with Rs 25 crore in unaccounted for money , an income made in 1994-95 for which it failed to explain the source to income tax authorities, the tax authorities withdrew its exemption. The party then moved the Delhi high court and, after receiving an adverse judgment, moved the Supreme Court against it.

The CPM too has a large bank balance of Rs 286 crore (as on March 31, 2016), and continues to collect cash. According to an expenditure statement submitted by the party to the EC on July 3, its gross receipts during the assembly polls in West Bengal and Kerala (March-May 2016) were Rs 60 crore -almost 57% of this, or Rs 34 crore, was collected in cash. But more than 68% of the party's total expenditure of Rs 32 crore was by way of cheque.

According to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO working for electoral reforms, more than 60% of the total income of parties in 2014-15 was from unknown sources and in cash. These parties have also refused to furnish any details to the I-T department as to who contributed this amount, merely putting them under the heads of “sale of coupons, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions and donations received during morchas“.

The source of about 50% of donations received by BJP (Rs 434 crore) in 2014-15 remains unknown. In case of CPM, only 6% of Rs 59 crore came from known sources.Rest of the donors are unknown and the party has not furnished any details, the ADR report said for accounts and I-T returns it analysed till 2015. In case of Congress, the unknown donors were to the tune of 38% of the total contributions .

Funds received by political parties

See graphic:

Funds received by political parties, 2016-17

2016-17, rise in donations

2016-17: Donations rose 650%; BJP received 89.22%

BJP cornered lion’s share of electoral trusts’ donations, January 31, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

Total donations to parties by electoral trusts, 2013-17


An analysis of contribution details made by electoral trusts to the Election Commission for the financial year 2016-17 shows that the maximum donations made were to BJP.

These electoral trusts, registered with the CBDT, received a total of Rs 325.45 crore from corporates and individuals and distributed Rs 325.27 crore to various political parties. BJP received Rs 290.22 crore or 89.22 percent of the total donations received by all political parties from Electoral Trusts. The other nine political parties, which include Congress, SAD and SP, received Rs 35.05 crore collectively.

The report put together by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), says total donations to political parties during 2015-16 was Rs 49.50 crore and climbed to Rs 325.27 crore in 2016-17.

Among them Prudent Electoral Trust contributed the highest 87.18% (Rs 283.73 crore) of the total amount donated to all electoral trusts during 2016-17. It then distributed Rs 283.72 crore to six political parties. “Fourteen out of the 21Electoral Trusts, registered with the CBDT, submitted their contribution details for FY 2016-17 to the ECI of which only six declared to have received any donations during that year. One, Janshakti Electoral Trust, was registered only in September 2017,” the ADR report said. “Prudent Electoral Trust and Samaj Electoral Trust are the only two, who have donated to five or more political parties, the common ones being BJP, INC and RLD,” said the ADR report, adding, “Three Electoral Trusts (Janta Nirvachak Electoral Trust, Paribartan Electoral Trust and Triumph Electoral Trust) have not declared details of cheques given to political parties.”

According to the rules formulated by the government, Electoral Trusts are required to donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year. DLF Limited contributed the highest amount worth Rs 28 crore amongst all donors of the Electoral Trusts, followed by UPL Limited and JSW Energy Ltd who contributed Rs 25 crore individually.

Only two individuals — Suresh Kotak and Analjit Singh — contributed to Electoral Trusts in FY 2016-17.

BJP’s income twice that of 6 national parties together

Bharti Jain, BJP’s income double that of other 6 nat’l parties together, April 11, 2018: The Times of India

2014> 2017
i) Rise of the income of the BJP and fall of the Congress’ income
ii) The relative share of the incomes of the seven national parties.
From: Bharti Jain, BJP’s income double that of other 6 nat’l parties together, April 11, 2018: The Times of India

Rises 80% In 1 Yr To ₹1,034cr In 2016-17

The ruling BJP’s income soared 81% to Rs 1,034 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 570 crore in 2015-16, according to updated annual audit reports filed with the Election Commission.

As per BJP’s annual audit report submitted on Febuary 8, its total receipts for 2016-17 matched the receipts (Rs 1,033 crore) of all seven national parties, including BJP, put together in 2015-16.

BJP’s income constituted roughly two-thirds of the combined income of Rs 1,559 crore for all national parties in 2016-17. So, BJP alone earned double of the other six national parties (Congress, BSP, Trinamool, CPM, CPI and NCP) put together in 2016-17. This is much higher than the Congress share during the tenure of UPA between 2004-05 and 2013-14.

The Congress share touched a high of 58% in the first year of UPA-I. By the last year of UPA-II, 2013-14, it was down to 39%, below BJP’s share of 44% for the same year.

Of BJP’s income, Rs 997 crore came from voluntary contributions. Of this, Rs 533 crore was received in contributions exceeding Rs 20,000 each. BJP’s total expenditure was Rs 710 crore, leaving it with unspent income of Rs 324 crore, almost Rs 100 crore more than Congress’s income of Rs 225 crore in 2016-17.

For Congress, this represented a fall from Rs 261 crore declared in 2015-16. A good chunk of Congress income, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), came from issuance of coupons (Rs 115.6 crore). The party’s expenditure exceeded its income by almost Rs 96 crore, as per the annual audit report filed by the party on March 19, 2018. Of the national parties, only BSP, CPM and TMC filed their annual audit reports within the October 30, 2017 deadline. Congress was late by 138 days and BJP by 99 days.

‘TMC’s spend more than its income’

BSP received Rs 173.6 crore in 2016-17, a jump from Rs 47.4 crore the preceding year. Interestingly, going by the contribution report filed by BSP, none of the contributions was in excess of Rs 20,000.

CPM’s receipts of about Rs 100 crore were marginally lower than the Rs 107 crore it had declared the preceding year, but enough to put it in fourth place. Interestingly, Trinamool Congress declared income of a mere Rs 6.3 crore, a fraction of the Rs 34.5 crore shown in 2015-16. Like Congress, Trinamool’s Rs 24 crore expenditure was higher than its income.

CPI declared an income of Rs 2.1 crore in 2016-17, down from Rs 10.2 crore in 2015-16, while NCP’s income grew to Rs 17.2 crore from Rs 9.1 crore.

Voluntary contributions were the largest source of declared income for the seven national parties, accounting for Rs 1,169 crore or about 75% of the total income. The total expenditure shown by the seven parties was about Rs 1,228 crore.

A look at contribution reports filed by the national parties, recording donations in excess of Rs 20,000, reveals while BJP received nearly Rs 533 crore as contributions from identified sources, such contributions to CPM totalled Rs 5.2 crore, to NCP Rs 6.3 crore, to Trinamool Rs 2.2 crore and CPI Rs 1.4 crore. Details of donations of above Rs 20,000 each to Congress had not been uploaded by the EC.

Regional parties’ funding: SP tops

SP tops income list of regional parties: ADR, May 23, 2018: The Times of India


The total income of 32 regional political parties in 2016-17 was Rs 321 crore with Samajwadi Party getting the highest at Rs 82.7 crore, says a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

These regional parties declared a total expenditure of Rs 435.48 crore during the year, ADR added in the report. Of these 32 parties, 17 showed Rs 114.45 crore collectively as unspent income.

“SP... (is) followed by Telugu Desam Party with an income of Rs 72.9 crore and AIADMK Rs 48.8 crore,” the think tank said.

The total income of the top three regional parties — SP, TDP, AIADMK — amounted to Rs 204.5 crore or 63.7% of overall receipts of 32 regional parties put together.

The ADR report added that audit reports of 16 are unavailable for 2016-17 on the website of the Election Commission.

Parties received ₹711cr donations from ‘unknown sources’

In 2016-17, parties received ₹711cr donations from ‘unknown sources’, May 31, 2018: The Times of India


The income of seven national parties from “unknown sources” during 2016-17 was Rs 710.80 crore, while total donations (above Rs 20,000) declared by them stood at Rs 589.38 crore, with BJP receiving Rs 532.27 crore from 1,194 entities, says a report.

Donations declared by BJP is more than nine times the aggregate declared by Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) for the same period, the report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Wednesday.

“The total donations (above Rs 20,000) declared by the national parties was Rs 589.38 crore, from 2,123 donations. A total of Rs 532.27 crore was declared by BJP from 1,194 donations while INC declared receiving Rs 41.90 crore from 599 donations,” it said.

BSP declared that it did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during 2016-17, as it has been declaring for the past 11 years.

Total donations of parties during 2016-17 increased by Rs 487.36 crore from Rs 102.02 crore during 2015-16, the report jointly prepared by ADR and National Election Watch (NEW) said.

2017-18

2017-18: BJP gets 86% of the contributions, BJD 2nd, Cong 3rd

Bharti Jain, BJP corners 86% of all poll trust funds, November 6, 2018: The Times of India

Party-wise distribution of contributions by electoral trusts- 2017-18
From: Bharti Jain, BJP corners 86% of all poll trust funds, November 6, 2018: The Times of India


BJD Overtakes Cong In Attracting Contributions

BJP received over 86% of the contributions to political parties declared so far by electoral trusts in 2017-18, even though at Rs 167.8 crore this fell short of its 2016-17 kitty totalling Rs 290.22 crore.

Surprisingly, Congress with Rs 12-crore contributions from electoral trusts in the last financial year, finished third after regional player Biju Janata Dal (BJD) that received Rs 13 crore from two electoral trusts. The remaining of the Rs 193.78-crore sum donated by electoral trusts in 2017-18 was shared by NCP and J&K National Conference.

Prudent Electoral Trust, earlier known at Satya Electoral Trust, was the biggest contributor, having disbursed a total amount of Rs 169.3 crore among three parties, namely, BJP, Congress and BJD. BJP was the biggest beneficiary having received Rs 154.3 crore, followed by Congress that got Rs 10 crore and BJD, Rs 5 crore.

In 2016-17 too, BJP had bagged almost 89% of contributions made to political parties by the Prudent Electoral Trust. Of the total Rs 283.72 contributions disbursed by the trust, BJP received Rs 252 crore while Congress got Rs 14.9 crore. The remaining was shared among Shiromani Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Aam Aadmi Party.

As per contribution reports of electoral trusts for 2017-18, last updated by Election Commission on October 15, 2018, A B General Electoral Trust disbursed a total sum of Rs 21.5 crore to political parties, of which Rs 12.5 crore went to BJP, Rs 8 crore to BJD and Rs 1 crore to Congress.

Triumph Electoral Trust contributed Rs 2 crore, which was equally shared by BJP and Congress. Two other trusts that made contributions during the last financial year were Jankalyan Electoral Trust, which donated Rs 50 lakh to NCP and Janshakti Electoral Trust, which disbursed Rs 48 lakh to J&K National Conference.

All other electoral trusts that filed their contribution report for 2017-18 have declared nil contributions.

The richest electoral trust, Prudent, had multiple corporate donors. The DLF group was the largest contributor, having donated over Rs 50 crore, while Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Bharti Airtel were the other prominent funding sources.

A B General Electoral Trustgot its donations from Ultratech Cement, Hindalco Industries and Grasim.

The names of electoral trusts, currently, do not indicate the name of the company/group of companies which set up the trusts. Electoral Trusts are required to donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year.

2017-18: BJP gets 95% of the electoral bonds

Bharti Jain, December 1, 2018: The Times of India

BJP’s income declared in annual audit report for 2017-18
From: Bharti Jain, December 1, 2018: The Times of India

While BJP walked away with 95% of the contributions made to political parties via electoral bonds in 2017-18, the first year of implementation of the scheme, contributions received by the party in excess of Rs 20,000 through cheque, bank draft, RTGS/NEFT and other banking modes during the year fell to Rs 438 crore from Rs 529 crore in 2016-17.

BJP declared a total income of Rs 1,027 crore for 2017-18, CPM Rs 104.8 crore, BSP Rs 51.7 crore, Trinamool Congress Rs 5.17 crore and CPI Rs 1.55 crore. Congress and NCP are yet to submit their annual audit reports to the Election Commission.

In 2016-17, BJP had declared an income of Rs 1,034 crore, CPM Rs 100 crore, BSP Rs 173 crore, Trinamool Congress Rs 6.09 crore and CPI Rs 2 crore. As per BJP’s audit report for 2017-18 submitted to the EC, the party encashed electoral bonds worth Rs 210 crore out of the total Rs 222 crore issued by banks in the year, covering only the first tranche relating to the period March 1-10, 2018.

However, there was a fall in ‘other contributions’ to BJP from Rs 922 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 714 crore in 2017-18 and also in total value of donations above Rs 20,000 received, from Rs 529 crore to Rs 438 crore. This is seen as an indication that corporate houses and major donors to the party may have chosen the electoral bonds route over making direct contributions that, if in excess of Rs 20,000, would require their details to be furnished by parties in contributions reports to the EC.

Association for Democratic Reforms founder Trilochan Sastry said compared to Rs 438 crore received by BJP in Rs 20,000-plus donations, voluntary contributions worth Rs 552 crore (58% of total contributions) to the party were from anonymous sources.

None of the other four national parties that have filed their annual audit accounts for 2017-18 — BSP, CPM, CPI and Trinamool Congress — declared any income through electoral bonds.

BJP’s annual audit report for 2017-18 submitted to the EC on November 24 showed a 45% jump in voluntary contributions received by the party as part of its Aajiwan Sahayog Nidhi scheme, under which individuals can make online donations.

2017-18: electoral bonds, share of Congress

Bharti Jain, Congress’ income plummets in 2017-18, January 19, 2019: The Times of India


Congress’ income fell to Rs 199 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 225 crore in 2016-17. A mere Rs 5 crore out of the Rs 199 crore came in the form of electoral bonds. The grand old party’s receipts were less than 20% of BJP’s total income of Rs 1,027 crore in the year, according to its annual audit report for 2017-18 submitted to the Election Commission.

While BJP cornered 95% of the share of the electoral bonds pie, having encashed bonds worth Rs 210 crore out of the total Rs 222 crore issued by banks in 2017-18 (covering only the first tranche relating to the period March 1-10, 2018), Congress has declared just Rs 5 crore income through these bonds.

Incidentally, none of the other five national parties declared any income from electoral bonds in their annual audit reports for 2017-18, which put CPM’s income at Rs 104.8 crore, BSP’s at Rs 51.7 crore, NCP at Rs 8.1 crore, Trinamool Congress at Rs 5.17 crore and CPI at Rs 1.55 crore.

With Congress being the last national party to submit its annual audit report, the EC finally has details of electoral bonds receipts of all seven national parties.

Congress’ audit annual report has declared an expenditure at Rs 197 crore during the last financial year.

2017-2018: BJP gets most high value donations

‘BJP bags most high-value donations’, January 17, 2019: The Times of India


The ruling BJP has declared high-value donations totalling more than Rs 437 crore for the last fiscal, which is 12 times of the sum total of donations declared by all other national parties including Congress, in the last financial year, an electoral think-tank said.

The maximum amount of donations to both BJP and Congress came from Prudent Electoral Trust, which is backed by some big corporate houses, according to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Prudent Electoral Trust donated a total of Rs 164.30 crore to BJP and Congress combined. Of this BJP got Rs 154.30 crore, which is 35% of the total funds received by the party, and Congress got Rs 10 crore, which is 38% of its total funds. High value donations or any donation above Rs 20,000 declared by the national parties were Rs 469.89 crore for the year 2017-18. Out of this, BJP received chunk of the funds at Rs 437.04 crore, while Congress got Rs 26.65 crore.

Corporate houses and businesses donated Rs 400.23 crore to BJP and only Rs 19.29 crore to Congress in 2017-18.

Meanwhile, BSP declared that it did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during 2017-18.

2017-18, poll bonds: BJP got Rs 210 crore, all others Rs 11 crore

Dhananjay Mahapatra, BJP got Rs 210 crore in poll bonds, all others Rs 11 crore in 2017-18: EC, April 12, 2019: The Times of India


BJP received Rs 997 crore and Rs 990 crore through donations in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively, five times more than what Congress received in the same period, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Appearing for the EC, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi gave the information to a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna while hearing a petition by Association for Democratic Reforms which sought transparency in anonymous donations through electoral bonds, alleging that at present they encouraged corruption and generated black money.

When petitioner’s counsel Prashant Bhushan argued that electoral bonds were designed to benefit corporate houses and industrialists who contributed handsomely yet anonymously to the ruling party to receive a quid pro quo and claimed that BJP received 95% of such donations, attorney general K K Venugopal said Bhushan was kite flying and questioned the basis of the information.

However, Dwivedi handed over to the bench a two-page note, which proved Bhushan right as far as BJP getting maximum donations was concerned as it showed that in the 2017-18 financial year, 520 bonds worth Rs 222 crore were issued by State Bank of India, of which 511 bonds worth Rs 221 crore were redeemed.

“BJP has shown a receipt of Rs 210 crore through electoral bonds (which is exactly 95% of the total amount redeemed by political parties),” the EC said. This means all other parties put together received a paltry Rs 11 crore as donation through electoral bonds as compared to Rs 210 crore by BJP during 2017-18,” Dwivedi said.

The EC, however, added, “A large portion of the funding of political parties in earlier years (90% in 2015-16 and 62% in 2016-17) was in cash donations of less than Rs 20,000. If a part of the cash donations is now received through electoral bonds, it would mean that clean, tax-paid money is being used for political funding.”

Total donations received by BJP in 2016-17 was Rs 997 crore. Of the total, the party declared Rs 529 crore before the EC which showed that it received Rs 468 crore in cash donations, each below Rs 20,000, from anonymous persons. In the same period, Congress received Rs 180 crore in donations of which Rs 138 crore was through small donations from anonymous persons.

In 2017-18, BJP received Rs 990 crore in donations of which Rs 342 crore was through small cash donations by anonymous persons and Rs 210 crore by way of electoral bonds. Congress, in the same period, received Rs 168 crore of which Rs 141.50 crore was through small donations from anonymous persons and Rs 5 crore through electoral bonds.

Arguing against any intervention of the SC at this stage in the working of electoral bonds, the AG said this was a device put in place by the government as a policy decision to curb role of black money in electoral politics. “Let the system work for some time and after elections, whosoever comes to power can review the scheme and bring in changes,” the AG said. The SC said it would give its decision on Friday on the necessity of passing any interim order.

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