The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is the first party that has declared the name of the entity which made donations to it through electoral bonds, poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. The declaration of Rs 1 crore donation was made in the party’s 2019-20 contribution report, it said.
According to the contribution report of the ruling party in Jharkhand, the donation was made by aluminium and copper manufacturing company Hindalco. In a new report, the ADR said the most common and popular source of income for national and regional political parties in 2019-20 were donations through electoral bonds.
“Given the anonymity provided to donors by the scheme, electoral bonds have emerged as the most popular channel of donations to parties in the last two years," the ADR report said. “It is to be noted that the JMM party has declared the name of the donor who donated Rs 1 crore through electoral bonds in its contribution report for FY (financial year) 2019-20, however, this income through electoral bonds has not been declared by the party in its audit report for FY 2019-20," it said.
This raises the question as to whether political parties are aware of the donor’s identity who made contributions through electoral bonds, as can be seen in this case, the ADR said. Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.
The report said more than 50 per cent of the total income — Rs 312.37 crore — of 19 political parties, analysed for the 2019-20 fiscal, was received from donations through electoral bonds, which are anonymous, meaning the identity of donors are not disclosed to the public.
Electoral bonds worth Rs 3,429.56 crore were redeemed by parties in 2019-20, indicating that the remaining Rs 3117.19 crore or approximately 91 per cent worth of electoral bonds were encashed by parties whose audit reports are yet to be available on the Election Commission’s website, it said. The total income declared by the two national and 17 regional parties for 2019-20 was Rs 619.28 crore.
The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) reported having the highest income of Rs 143.676 crore which forms 23.20 per cent of the total income of all the parties analysed, followed by the TDP with an income of Rs 91.53 crore or 14.78 per cent and the BJD whose income was Rs 90.35 crore or 14.59 per cent, the ADR said. The total income of the top three parties was Rs 325.556 crore, which comprised 52.57 per cent of the total income of political parties analysed collectively in this report, it said.
Out of the 19 political parties analysed, nine parties have shown an increase in their income, from the 2018-19 fiscal to 2019-20, while 10 parties have shown a decline in their income during this period, the report said. The total income of the 19 parties decreased from Rs 772.14 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 619.28 crore in 2019-20, a decrease of 19.80 per cent or Rs 152.86 crore.
The AIADMK reported the highest increase in its income of Rs 61.506 crore followed by the DMK and the SAD which declared a total increase of Rs 38.557 crore and Rs 11.59 crore respectively, between 2018-19 and 2019-20, the ADR said. The BJD reported the highest decrease in its income of Rs 158.96 crore followed by the AITC and the TDP which declared a total decrease of Rs 48.974 crore and Rs 23.43 crore respectively, between 2018-19 and 2019-20.