BJP Biggest Beneficiary, Received 87% Of All Donations By Electoral Trusts In 2017-18: ADR Report
A report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO working in the area of political and electoral reform, along with National Election Watch (NEW) has revealed that in the year 2017-2018, BJP received the maximum share of donations. The party that is holding power in the centre has received 86.59 per cent of the total donation, which is Rs 167.80 crore, from Electoral Trusts. While in the same tenure, the Congress, the Biju Janata Dal, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference altogether received Rs 25.98 crore.
Donation to electoral trusts
According to the NDTV, at present, there are at least 22 registered Electoral Trusts that are formed by various industrial houses and companies. According to the report, Bharti Airtel has become the top corporate to donate the maximum amount. The company donated the highest amount of Rs 25.005 crore – to these trusts. The second on the list is DLF Ltd which has donated Rs 25 crore, followed by UPL Ltd, which has donated Rs 22 crore.
In 2014, the Election Commission had issued set guidelines, which said that all electoral trusts formed after January 2013 are supposed to declare the details of the money that has been received by them and also how they are distributing the same amount.
“These guidelines were issued to seven electoral trusts formed after January 2013, which included Satya Electoral Trust, Pratinidhi Electoral Trust, People’s Electoral Trust, Progressive Electoral Trust, Janhit Electoral Trust, Bajaj Electoral Trust and Janpragati Electoral Trust,” ADR said in a release, as reported by The Hindu Business Line.
According to the report, of the total trust, ten registered trusts have either said they have not received any contribution or have not submitted their report to ECI as per the directions.
The report further said as per five electoral trusts which have declared the contribution during FY 2017-18, revealed that a total amount of Rs 194.12 was received through all contributions by corporates and individuals in 2017-18. It also said that Rs 193.78 crore (99.82 per cent) of the total contribution was distributed to various political parties. As per the Election Commission, it is mandatory for the trust to give 95 per cent of the donations to registered political parties.
Before 2014, there were no rules for the trusts. At that time six electoral trusts had donated Rs 105 crore to national parties for the financial year of, 2004-2005, and 2011-2012. Because of the lack of guidelines, it was not mandatory to disclose the donor detail. There were no details of these firms who had donated the amount.
“Donations details of 6 trusts remain unknown, thereby leading to speculation on whether donations to these trusts were only a means of getting tax exemption or a way to convert black money stashed in tax havens to white money in India,” the ADR said in the report.
Even for FY 2016-17, BJP topped
The ADR presented a report on the donations received by the seven national political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) in the Financial year (FY) 2016-17.
The report revealed that the total donations of above the Rs 20,000 amount declared by the national parties were Rs 589.38 crore from 2123 donations. Rs 532.27 crore, that is 90.31% of the total donations was declared by BJP alone. Notably, the donations declared by BJP is more than nine times the aggregate donation amount declared by the other parties in the survey. The second on the list, INC declared receiving Rs 41.90 crore from 599 donations. While BSP declared that it has not received any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2016-17.