Political parties need access to money in order to reach out to the electorate, explain their goals/policies and receive inputs from people. But where do they collect their funds from? An analysis of their Income Tax returns and statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that the sources remain largely unknown.
BSP is the only party to consistently declare receiving nil donations above Rs 20,000 between FY 2004-05 and 2014-15 thus 100% of the party’s donations came from unknown sources. The total income of the party increased by 2057% from Rs 5.19 cr during FY 2004-05 to Rs 111.96 cr during FY 2014-15.
The 12 regional parties which have never filed their contributions report since FY 2004-05 are: J&K PDP, AJSU, NPP, RSP, MPC, KC-M, SKM, AINRC, PDA, MSCP, HSPDP and PPA.
The income of National parties from unknown sources increased by 313%, from Rs 274.13 cr during FY 2004-05 to Rs 1130.92 cr during FY 2014-15.
The income of Regional parties from unknown sources increased by 652% from Rs 37.393 cr during FY 2004-05 to Rs 281.01 cr during FY 2014-15.
Total income of National and Regional political parties between FY 2004-05 and 2014-15: Rs 11,367.34 cr.
· Total income of political parties from known donors (details of donors as available from contribution report submitted by parties to Election Commission): Rs 1,835.63 cr, which is 16% of the total income of the parties.
· Total income of political parties from other known sources (e.g., sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.): Rs 1,698.73 cr, or 15% of total income.
· Total income of political parties from unknown sources (income specified in the IT Returns whose sources are unknown): Rs 7,832.98 cr, which is 69% of the total income of the parties.
During the 11 years between FY 2004-05 and 2014-15, 83% of total income of INC, amounting to Rs 3,323.39 cr and 65% of total income of BJP, amounting to Rs 2,125.91 cr came from unknown sources.
. Among the Regional Parties, Rs 766.27 cr or 94% of total income of SP and Rs 88.06 cr or 86% of the total income of SAD came from unknown sources.