‘Donations run India’s political parties, sources largely unknown’ (Lead)

September 10th, 2012 - 11:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Donations make a major part of the funds on which political parties run in India, but most of these parties do not disclose the names of those who contribute hefty funds, said think-tanks Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch.

As per data collected by the think-tanks, the Congress, which presently heads the central government, is the richest of all, followed by rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Both Congress and BJP have, however, defended taking donations.

The think-tanks said that even though donations formed a bulk of the income of the political parties, very few of them revealed the sources of donations.

In the last seven years, between financial years 2004-05 and 2010-11, Congress’s earning was Rs.2,008 crore, followed by the BJP with Rs.994 crore.

The incomes have increased over years. Congress in 2004-05, when it won elections, earned Rs. 22,207 lakh. In 2005-06, its income was Rs.16,936 lakh, and went up to Rs.22,081 lakh in 2007-08, Rs.46,757.87 lakh in 2009-10, and Rs.30,708.87 lakh in 2010-11.

BJP’s earning in 2004-05 was Rs.10,412 lakh and in 2010-11, it had risen to Rs.16,800.92 lakh.

Following the two national parties is the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with income, for this period, of Rs.484 crore, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Rs.417 crore and the Samajwadi Party Rs.279 crore.

There is also no standardisation for the format of declaring income. Congress distributes its income under three heads, sale of coupons (74 percent), donations (14 percent) and interest (12 percent) for its income from 2009-11.

BJP says, from 2009-11, it earned through voluntary contribution (81 percent), interest (7.5 percent) and Aajiwan Sahyog Nidhi (11.5 percent).

National coordinator for the think-tanks Anil Bariwal says these political parties have disclosed very few names of the contributors.

“It is mandatory for political parties to declare donations above Rs.20,000. But very few of them declare where they got the donation from,” he said.

“But mostly political parties do not disclose where they got the donation from. Someone says we earned crore of rupee by selling coupons, some show crores of income and say they did not have a single contribution which was more than Rs.20,000,” he said.

Contributions by those who make donations above Rs.20,000 and disclose their names form a very small percentage of the total income of political parties, he said.

For financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11, the BJP’s donations from named donors amounted to 22.76 percent of the total income.

The Congress, during this period, showed a mere 11.89 percent of their income from contributions by named donors, followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 4.64 percent and the CPI-M 1.29 percent. The BSP declared that it had not received any donations above Rs.20,000.

Defending the practice, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said there is nothing “illegal or unethical” in receiving donations.

He also added that any detailed comment will be made only after they go through the report.

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said the party received funds through party workers in “transparent system of fund collection”.

The study has been done on the basis of data collected through Right to Information (RTI) applications.

The think-tank now said it was now planning to approach the Election Commission with the information, and seek strict monitoring of income and sources for political parties.

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