Monday, June 04, 2018

ADR’s analysis of donations over Rs 20,000 by national parties for FY 2016-17

Financial Chronicle: New Delhi: Monday, June 04, 2018.
The latest report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), focuses on donations received by the National Political Parties, above Rs 20,000, during the Financial Year 2016-17, as submitted by the parties to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The National Parties include Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
The total donations above Rs 20,000 declared by national parties was Rs 589.38 crore from 2,123 donations.
The total donations of national parties during FY 2016-17 increased by Rs 487.36 crore, an increase of 478 per cent, from Rs 102.02 crore declared during the previous financial year, 2015-16.
Donations to BJP increased from Rs 76.85 crore during FY 2015-16 to Rs 532.27 crore during
FY 2016-17 – 593 per cent increase.
Donations to Trinamool Congress increased by 231 per cent, CPI(M) and Congress have declared increase of 190 per cent and 105 per cent respectively as per their donation reports for FY- 2015-16 and 2016-17, while that of CPI decreased by 9 per cent.
Sources of income
The total income of the national parties from known donors – details of donors as available from contribution report submitted by parties to the Election Commission: Rs 589.38 crore which is 37.8 per cent of the total income of the seven National parties during FY 2016-17.
Total income of the parties from other known sources -- eg. sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.: Rs 258.99 crore, or 16.61 per cent of total income.
Total income of the seven national parties from unknown sources – income specified in the IT returns whose sources are unknown – for the FY 2016-17 is Rs 710.80 crore, which is 45.59 per cent of the total income of the parties in India.
Details of unknown sources of income
Among the unknown sources of funding, maximum funds were collected under ‘Voluntary Contributions’ by BJP during FY 2016-17. A total of Rs 464.84 crore was collected under this head which formed 99.98 per cent of the total income from unknown sources of BJP.
The most preferred unknown source of funding for the Congress was ‘sale of coupons’ under which the party collected a total of Rs 115.64 crore which formed 91.69 per cent of the pa­rty’s total income from unknown sources during FY 2016-17.
State-wise donations to national parties
Segregation of donations according to states was made by ADR/NEW based on the address provided by the parties in their donations report to the ECI.
A total of Rs 290.90 crore was donated to national parties from Delhi, followed by Rs 112.31 crore from Maharashtra and Rs 20.22 crore from Uttar Pradesh.
A total of Rs 91.91 crore, (15.59 per cent of total donations received by the National parties, FY 2016-17), could not be attributed to any state/ union territory due to incomplete information provided by the parties.
Donors from corporates/ business sectors vs individual donors
708 donations to national parties were made by corporate/business sectors amounting to Rs 563.24 crore or 95.56 per cent of total donations while 1,354 individual donors donated Rs 25.07 crore 4.25 per cent of total donations to the parties during FY 2016-17.
531 donations from corporate/business sectors were made to BJP – Rs 15.43 crore –while 663 individual donors donated Rs 16.82 crore to the party during FY 2016-17.
The Congress received a total of Rs 36.06 crore via 98 donations from corporate/business sectors and Rs 5.84 crore via 501
individual donors during FY 2016-17.
There is still ambiguity in details of donations declared by national parties for FY 2016-17.
Of the seven national parties, BJP, Congress, CPI and CPI(M) had not declared PAN details of 166 donations through which the parties collected a total of Rs 2.86 crore.
The Supreme Court gave a judgment on September 13, 2013 declaring that no part of a candidate’s affidavit should be left blank. Similarly, no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000 should be blank.
Full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI. Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan. In none of these countries is it possible for nearly 50 per cent of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India.
The national and regional parties should, ideally, lead by example by filing complete and correct statements of donations to the ECI well in time for public scrutiny so as to encourage financial transparency.
The National and regional political parties must provide all information on their finances under the Right to Information Act. This will go a long way in strengthening political parties, elections and democracy.