70% Political Funding comes from unknown sources, Says ADR

NEW DELHI:  Nearly 70 per cent of the income of political parties in India comes from unknown sources between 2004 and 2015. Among the national parties, the Congress tops the list with incomes with 83% income from unknown sources, followed by the BJP with 65%. Under the Income Tax Act, political parties do not have to pay tax provided they accept all donations above Rs. 20,000 in cheque. While they are required to keep details of donations below Rs. 20,000, it has been pointed out that the option of cash donations leaves room for turning black money to white.

Political parties received Rs 7,833 crore funding from unknown sources between 2004-05 and 2014-15, which is 69 per cent of their total income, with the Congress and the BJP witnessing maximum income from such sources, says a report.

National and regional political parties received Rs 11,367.34 crore of total income during this period, as per a report by Delhi-based think-tank Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Income of political parties from known donors was Rs 1,835.63 crore, which is 16 per cent of their total income.

Also, total income of political parties from other known sources (sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc) stood at Rs 1,698.73 crore or 15 per cent.

As per the ADR report, during the 11 years, 83 per cent of total income of Indian National Congress (INC) amounting to Rs 3,323.39 crore and 65 per cent of total income of the BJP amounting to Rs 2,125.91 crore came from unknown sources.

Among the regional parties, Rs 766.27 crore or 94 per cent of total income of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rs 88.06 crore or 86 per cent of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) came from unknown sources.

Income of national parties from unknown sources increased by 313 per cent, from Rs 274.13 crore during 2004-05 to Rs 1,130.92 crore during 2014-15, ADR said.

Income of regional parties from unknown sources also increased by 652 per cent from Rs 37.393 crore to Rs 281.01 crore.

Among all the national and regional parties considered, BSP is the only party to consistently declare receiving nil donations above Rs 20,000 between 2004-05 and 2014-15 thus 100 per cent of the party’s donations came from unknown sources, it said.

Total income of the party increased by 2,057 per cent from Rs 5.19 crore to Rs 111.96 crore, as per ADR.

The Congress has the highest total income of Rs 3,982.09 crore between 2004-05 and 2014-15, this is 42.92 per cent of the total income of the 6 parties during the same time.

The BJP has the second highest income of Rs 3,272.63 crore which is 35.27 per cent of the total income of the 6 national parties.

Total declared income of regional parties between 2004-05 and 2014-15 was Rs 2,089.04 crore. SP has the highest total income of Rs 819.1 crore followed by DMK with Rs 203.02 crore and AIADMK with Rs 165.01 crore.

Total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the 6 national parties was Rs 1,405.19 crore. BJP tops the list and has declared a total of Rs 917.86 crore as received through voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000.

Total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the regional parties was Rs 430.42 crore. DMK tops the list and has declared a total of Rs 129.83 crore as received via voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 but the party has not filed its donations report for the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06.