Funding by unknown sources make bulk of party income
Income tax returns and statements filed by political parties in Bihar with the Election Commission of India (ECI) show that sources of their bulk income remain largely unknown.
An analysis of funding sources by Bihar Election Watch (BEW), a non-governmental organisation, in the last 11 years (2004-05 to 2014-15) points to the fact that the problem was more acute with national parties, as compared to regional outfits.
While 71% income of national parties during the period was from unknown sources, it was 58% in case of regional parties.
The total income for all political parties for the period, as per the report of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), was estimated at Rs 11,367.34 crore – Rs 9,278.30 crore for national parties and Rs 2,089.04 crore for regional parties, the report said.
FUNDING FROM UNKNOWN SOURCE
Of this, six national parties, in their returns, declared having received just Rs 1,405.19 crore as donations above Rs 20,000. The BJP topped the list with its declaration showing Rs 917.86 crore received via voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000. It was more than twice the amount (Rs 400.32 crore) declared by the Congress. The BSP declared that it had received no donation above Rs 20,000 in the last 11 years.
In terms of highest income from unknown sources, the Congress led the pack with Rs 3,323.39 crore, which comes to 83% of its total income during the period. BJP’s income from unknown source was Rs 2,125.91 crore, 65% of its earnings.
The Congress recorded the highest total income of Rs 3,982.09 crore between fiscal 2004-05 and 2014-15, which is 42.92% of the total income of the six national parties. The BJP was second with an income of Rs 3,272.63 crore and with an income of Rs 892.99 crore during the period, the CPI-M was at third place.
Among regional parties, JD(U) recorded an income of Rs 54.12 crore, out of which Rs 38.78 crore was from unknown sources. The RJD had a total income of Rs 22.52 crore, with Rs 5.8 crore from unknown sources. The LJP’s income was Rs 6.73 crore, including Rs 4.87 crore from unknown sources.
The ADR report said that of the 51 regional parties, 12 never submitted their returns to the ECI. The income tax returns/audit reports of national and regional parties could be obtained only through applications under the Right to Information Act.