New Delhi: Corporate houses contributed Rs 985.18 crore to national political parties in the financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alone receiving Rs 915.59 crore, according to a report released Tuesday by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The total amount of Rs 985.18 accounted for a staggering 93 per cent of the donations made to national political parties from known sources. Parties have to provide details of donors who make contributions of over Rs 20,000 in a financial year to the Election Commission of India.
What’s more, the two-year amount was 3 per cent greater than the figure of Rs 956.77 crore the parties received over the previous four financial years combined (2012-13 to 2015-16).
The ADR survey covered six national parties — the BJP, the Indian National Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
The Bahujan Samaj Party, though a national party, was not included in the analysis as it declared it received no voluntary contributions of more than Rs 20,000 during this period.
Who got how much?
Unsurprisingly, the BJP topped the list with donations of Rs 915.59 crore from 1,731 corporate donors. The Congress was a distant second, receiving Rs 55.36 crore from 151 corporate donors.
For the BJP, this number represented 94 per cent of the total voluntary contributions of over Rs 20,000 made to the party. The corresponding figure for the Congress was 81 per cent.
The others — NCP, CPI(M), AITC and CPI — received Rs 7.73 crore, Rs 4.42 crore, Rs 2.03 crore and Rs 0.04 crore respectively.
In the two-year period under consideration, FY 2016-18, Prudent/Satya Electoral Trust was the top donor to the BJP and the INC. It donated a total of 46 times in these two years, contributing a total of Rs 405.52 crore in 33 donations to the BJP and Rs 23.90 crore in 13 donations to Congress.
The Bhadram Janhit Shalika Trust also donated a total of Rs 41 crore to the two parties.
Most of the donations were made through cheque/demand draft (Rs 786.60 crore) while a substantial amount was also donated through bank transfers (Rs 175.76 crore).
The top contributing states were Delhi (Rs 481.37 crore), Maharashtra (Rs 176.88 crore) and Karnataka (Rs 43.184 crore).
In many cases, some of the details of the contributors provided by parties were missing—916 donations did not have address details, while 76 were missing PAN details. Nearly 98 per cent of these cases were in donations made to the BJP.
A total of 347 contributions were from companies with either zero internet presence or ambiguity about their nature of work.
ADR recommended a series of steps to bring more transparency to the political party funding process.
“Any party which does not submit its donation statement to the ECI on or before 31st Oct should be heavily penalised and its income should not be tax-exempted,” it said.
Corporations should also put details of their political contributions on their website to enhance transparency, it added.