Political parties in India are getting richer, but the major source of their funding remains unknown, revealed a study released by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday.
Twenty three political parties including Congress and BJP earned Rs. 4,662 crore between 2004 and 2011, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said based on the Right To Information replies it received from the Election Commission and the Income Tax department.
But, source of less than 15% of the contributions was known."The unknown donation is a black money box of the political parties," said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member ADR, on whose petition the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to make declaration of assets and criminal record must for candidates.
“By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption but can make a major dent”.
The NGO claimed that the income of the parties have shown a steady growth since 2004.
The earning of the Congress went up from Rs. 222 crore in 2004 to Rs. 307 crore in 2011.
For BJP, it increased from Rs. 104 crore to Rs. 168 crore during the same period.
In this, BSP was a party with an exception with its income increasing from Rs. 4.2 crore in 2004 to Rs. 115 crore in 2011 with zero contribution from a known donor.
The figures complied by ADR showed that the Congress’ income was Rs. 2,008 crores, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011, a reason for its donations from known donors being just 11.89 % of its total earnings.
On the other hand, the BJP’s known donors including several corporate provided 22.76 % of its total earning of Rs. 994 crore during the period.
The CPI(M)'s income from 2004-2011 is Rs. 417 crore, mostly contributions from individuals, just behind BSP's Rs. 484 crore, while other major Left party, CPI, has earned only Rs. 6.7
Among the donors, General Electoral Trust (GET) of the Aditya Birla Group, Tata’s Electoral Trust and Gujarat based Torrent Power Limited have given big donations both to some political parties including Congress and BJP.
While the GET gave Rs. 36.4 crore as donations to Congress, it contribured Rs. 26 crore to the BJP's coffers, the report said. Torrent power gave Rs. 14.15 crore to Congress and Rs. 13 crore to BJP during this period.
Several other corporate such as Videocon Industries, Bharti Electoral Trust, ITC, Vedanta Group, Adani Group and Mahindra and Mahindra had claimed income tax rebate for the political donations.
As per Representation of People’s Act, a person or a company can claim income tax rebate for any amount of more than Rs. 20,000 provided the party makes the declaration in its annual return to the Election Commission.