A report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed that unknown sources contributed 55% of the funding of regional parties in India during FY 2019-2020. The report also indicated that the electoral bonds accounted for nearly 95% of the donations from "unknown" sources.
The report estimates the total income of 25 regional political parties during this time to be Rs 803.24 crore, of which Rs 184.623 crore(22.98%) came from 'known sources', while 'unknown sources' contributed Rs 445.774 crore (55.50%). The parties' received 21.52% of their funding from 'other sources' like membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, etc.
In its earlier report for FY 2018-2019, the ADR reported that the total income of regional parties stood at Rs 885.956 crore, of which Rs 481.276 crore (54.32%) came from 'unknown sources'.
What Are 'Unknown Sources'
The ADR defines 'unknown sources' of income for the political parties as those which are declared in the Annual Audit reports without giving source of income for donations below Rs. 20,000. These sources consist of donations via electoral bonds, sale of coupons, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions, contribution from meetings/morchas' etc. The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain, the ADR explains.
On the other hand, 'known sources' of income are those donations, above or below Rs 20,000, whose donor details are available through reports submitted by the party to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Regional parties also have a part of their income coming from 'other known sources'. These include 'sale of moveable and immoveable assets, old newspapers, membership, fees, delegate fee, bank interest, sale of publications and levy whose details are available with the party's accounts.
Party With Highest 'Unknown Source' Of Income
Among the top 10 regional parties that had most of their funding coming from 'unknown sources' during FY 2019-2020, majority were from the southern states. K Chandrashekar Rao's TRS led the charts for receiving highest funds from 'unknown sources'. It received Rs 89.148 crore through 'unknown' donations', followed by TDP and YSRCP with Rs 81.694 crore and Rs 74.75 crore, respectively. The DMK, BJD, SAD, JDS, JDU and SP are other parties in the list of the top 10 regional parties receiving major funds from 'unknown sources'.
For the report on regional parties' sources of income for FY 2019-2020, the ADR analysed 28 of the 53 regional parties. Remaining parties had not submitted the complete reports of their income to the ECI.
It also noted that even though the data for AAP, IUML and LJP are available on the ECI website, there were 'discrepancies as declared in their Annual Audit report and Contribution report' for FY 2019-20. These parties have been omitted from analysis in the report.
"The amount of total contributions declared by AAP, IUML and LJP in their audit reports is less than the amount of total donations (above Rs 20,000 only) declared in their contribution reports by Rs 6.105 cr, Rs 31.20 lakhs and Rs 4.16 lakhs, respectively. This is an example of disregard of the parties towards the guidelines formulated for transparency and disclosure requirements," the report said.
Updated On: 2021-11-12T18:07:41+05:30