66% of income of national parties in India comes from ‘unknown’ sources: ADR report

New Delhi: Political parties in India earned over Rs 2,172 crore from “unknown sources” in the financial year 2021-22, which is 66.04 per cent of their total income, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO. working for Electoral Reforms.

The ADR said that the seven national parties that are being questioned – BJP, Congress, TMC, NCP, CPI, CPI(M) and National People’s Party – have declared income in their annual audit reports without disclosing the source. Through electoral bonds, sale of coupons, relief funds, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions and contributions from meetings/morchas.

The ADR said that of the total amount collected from unknown sources, Rs 1,811.94 crore or 83.41 per cent came through electoral bonds – in 2021-2022.

The total income of national and regional parties from unknown sources stood at Rs 690.67 crore for 2020-21. ADR considered eight national parties and 27 regional parties for that analysis.

At present, political parties are not required to disclose the names of individuals or organizations making donations of less than Rs 20,000 and those making donations through electoral bonds.

The BJP declared an income of Rs 1,161 crore from unknown sources, which is 53.45 per cent of the total income of national parties from unknown sources. TMC declared an income of Rs 528 crore from unknown sources, which is 24.31 per cent of the total income of national parties from unknown sources.

The ADR also said that between 2004-05 and 2021-22, national parties collected Rs 17,249.45 crore from unknown sources.
The combined income of Congress and NCP from the sale of coupons during the same period is Rs 4,398.51 crore. The CPI, on the other hand, has announced donations through levies, membership fees, party funds and election funds.

“It is to be noted that TMC’s total donations as per the audit report is Rs 38 lakh (excluding donations through electoral bonds), but the party has declared donations of Rs 43 lakh in the donation details (details of donations above Rs 20,000). Donation announced. Hence, there is discrepancy in the party’s statement for FY 2021-22,” the ADR explained.

ADR said the analysis was done on eight national parties, but the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared that it did not receive any funds from voluntary contributions from unknown sources of income.
The use of electoral bonds in political funding has been a controversial issue in India, with critics alleging that it allows anonymous donations from corporates and individuals to political parties. On the other hand, the government has defended the use of electoral bonds, saying it promotes transparency in political funding.

(with agency inputs)