8 parties got Rs 15,000 cr from unknown donors in 17 years: ADR

New Delhi: In the last 17 years, between 2004 and 2021, eight national parties have collected more than Rs 15,000 crore in small donations of less than Rs 20,000 from unknown contributors, whose identities have not been disclosed nor will elections be held. Neither the commission nor the Income Tax officials conducted any inquiry on them.

According to a report prepared by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organization working on election reforms, the combined income from undisclosed sources of Congress and NCP during this period is Rs 4,262 crore, all claiming ‘sales’. ‘ from. The coupons containing the names of the donors have not been disclosed to the Election Commission or the I-T department.

The arrival of such huge amounts to national parties where the sources and contributors of funds are unverified and not investigated is a cause for concern. The I-T department is the agency that provides tax exemption to these parties after verifying the legality of income and expenditure. The ADR report has raised serious questions about the color of money funding elections in India.

“More than 36 per cent (obtained by the parties) cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources,” the ADR said in its report. While these parties have been brought under the RTI Act in June 2013, yet they have not complied with the decision. “Full transparency, unfortunately, is not possible under the existing laws,” it said.
During the first year of the Covid pandemic in 2020-21, when the country came to a standstill and lakhs of people lost jobs overnight, these major parties together collected Rs 690 crore as income from unknown sources, including through electoral bonds. 325 crores from Rs. Contributors to electoral bonds are also not disclosed and (such income) is treated as income from ‘unknown sources’.

Interestingly, in 2020-21, 77 per cent of the electoral bond money (Rs 250 crore) went to 27 regional parties and only Rs 74 crore went to eight parties – BJP, Congress, TMC, NCP, CPM, BSP, CPI and National Peoples. To meet The party in Meghalaya is prominent among the 27 regional outfits Shiv Sena, TRS, YSR-Congress, AAP, BJD, DMK, JD(S), JD(U), AGP, AIADMK, AIFB, AIMIM, AIUDF, JMM and MNS.
Congress declared Rs 179 crore as income from unknown sources during 2020-21, which is 42% of total income of national parties from unknown sources (Rs 427 crore), and BJP Rs 101 crore.