BJP Collected Over Rs 553 Cr As Donations From Unknown Sources In 2017-18, Says ADR Report
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received over Rs 553 crore as donations from unknown sources in 2017-18. The party accounted for 80% of the total income and four times the aggregate declared by the five other national parties. “This income of the BJP is more than four times the aggregate of income from undisclosed sources by the other five national parties,” the report reads.
What does the ADR report say?
The Association for Democratic Reforms studied the tax returns and donation reports of six national political parties and said that the source of around 53% of the income of six national political parties during the same time was untraceable. The researchers studied the tax returns and reports of donations filed by the BJP, Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India.
Moreover, in the last 14 years between 2004-05 and 2017-18, the national parties collected a whopping Rs 8,721.14 crore worth of income from these undisclosed sources. However, the ADR could not take the seventh national party, i.e, the Communist Party Of India (Marxist) in the study as its schedules and annexures were unavailable.
Under the present regulations, political parties are not bound to reveal the identity of those who are making donations of less than Rs 20,000 or via electoral bonds. This is what constitutes undisclosed incomes for political parties. “More than 50 per cent of the funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources. While the national political parties were brought under the RTI Act by the CIC ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision,” the ADR said in the report.
The report stated that the six national parties raked up a total of Rs 1,293 crore in the previous financial year. Meanwhile, the share of the unknown income from electoral bonds was Rs 215 crore. The concept of electoral bonds which were introduced in January 2018 accounted for 315 or Rs 215 crore of the total Rs 689.44 crore in 2017-18. The lion’s share or Rs 210 crore was collected by the BJP while the Congress collected the rest.
Breaking up the Rs 689 crore based on the parties’ IT returns, the report found that over Rs 354 crore came from voluntary contributions while around Rs 215 crore came through electoral bonds.