Election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed that the political parties have collected Rs 11,234 crore from unknown sources in the last 15 years.
After analysing the Income Tax Returns (ITR) and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) by the political parties it has come to light that the income of the political parties is largely unknown.
The political parties are currently neither required to reveal the names of individuals or organisations donating less than Rs 20,000, say media reports.
There is also no need to reveal the names of individuals and organisations who donate via electoral bonds.
As a result, over 67 percent of the funds cannot be traced as they come from ‘unknown’ sources, say media reports.
The national political parties were brought under the RTI Act by a Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling in June 2013.
The ADR had considered a total of 7 national political parties for the analysis.
Therese political parties were BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, CPI(M) and CPI.
The BSP declared that it did not receive any funds from voluntary contributions (above or below Rs 20,000)/sale of coupons/electoral bonds or unknown sources of income.
Between the financial year 2004-05 and financial 2018-19, the national parties have collected Rs 11,234.12 crore from unknown sources, says ADR.
In the financial year 2018-19, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared Rs 1,612.04 crore as its income from unknown sources which was 64 percent of the total income of national parties from unknown sources at Rs 2,512.98 crore.
According to the report, this income of the BJP forms more than 1.5 times over the aggregate of income from unknown sources declared by the other five parties at Rs 900.94 crore.
Congress declared Rs 728.88 crore as income from unknown sources which was 29 pc of the total income of national parties from unknown sources.
As per the analysis conducted by the ADR, out of Rs 2512.98 crore as income from unknown sources, the share of income from electoral bonds was Rs 1960.68 crore or 78 pc.
The combined income of Congress and NCP from the sale of coupons between the financial year 2004-05 and financial year 2018-19 stood at Rs 3,902.63 crore, says the analysis.
According to the donations report (containing details of donations above Rs 20,000) of FY 2018-19, Rs 71.44 lakh was given to the national parties in cash.
The unknown sources include ‘donations via electoral bonds’, ‘sale of coupons’, ‘relief fund’, ‘miscellaneous income’, ‘voluntary contributions’, ‘contribution from meetings/morchas’ and so on.