Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, national and regional parties in India received Rs 7,833 crore funding from unknown sources, which is equivalent to 69% of their total income. A study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found that BJP and Congress witnessed the maximum revenue from such sources.
Parties do not need to reveal the names of the individuals or organisations who are donating them more than Rs 20,000, and that is why vast amounts of fundings go undisclosed.
The salient points of the study made by ADR include:
- The study of the statements of the parties given to the Election Commission between 2004-05 and 2014-15 years has revealed total income of 48 parties, both national and regional, was over Rs 11,367 crore. Sources of Rs 7,833 crore were untraceable.
- The Founding Member of ADR, Trilochan Sastry, said: “The income from known donors was Rs 1,835 crore (16%) and income from other known sources, such as the sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, the sale of publications and party levy, was Rs 1,698 crore (15%).”
- According to the study, Congress was the highest funded party in this period with funds over Rs 3,982 crore, of which, 83% was attributed to unknown sources.
- The BJP had the second highest funding with over Rs 3,272 crore. 65% of this fund came from unknown sources.
- CPM had funds worth Rs 893 crore (53% unknown sources).
- Among the regional parties, Rs 766 crore or 94% of the total income of the Samajwadi Party (SP), and Rs 88 crore or 86% of the income of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are from unknown sources.
- The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was the only party to declare zero donations above Rs 20,000 between 2004-2015. Thus 100% of party’s donation came from unknown sources.
- According to the list, BJP had the highest number of declared donations over Rs 20,000, a total of just under Rs 918 crore, which is more than twice the donations declared by Congress.
- The Congress had declared donations of a little over Rs 400 crore.
- The income of national parties from unknown sources increased by 2,057% from Rs 274 crore during 2004-05 to nearly Rs 1131 crore during 2014-15.
- The total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the six national parties was Rs 1,405.19 crore.
According to Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of National Election Watch, ADR, government decisions such as demonetization will be useful only when political funding is made transparent. The unaccounted money will not be removed from the system unless political parties are made accountable.
“It is largely believed that political funding is the source of all black money,” he said. “It begins with people spending more than they are permitted to spend in elections. For this, they go to people who will give them unaccounted money, and an unstated understanding takes place between the politician and the person concerned.”
The Logical Indian urges the authorities to bring transparency to party funding in both national and regional levels as such money is a major contributor to the black economy.