Political parties received donations worth Rs 6,500 crore through electoral bonds between 2017-18 and 2020-21, of which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got Rs 4,238 crore (65%), a new report from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows.
The report shows that four national parties – BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress (AITC) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – alone have received over 80% of the donation through electoral bonds during the said period.
While the BJP topped the chart with donations worth Rs 4,238.275 crore, the Congress got Rs 716.2 crore, AITC Rs 239.7 crore and NCP Rs 49.75 crore. Other political parties, including regional parties, received Rs 1,282.66 crore through these bonds between 2017-18 and 2020-21, the report shows.
During FY- 2017-18, among national parties, only the BJP and Congress declared receiving contribution through electoral bonds, while in 2020-21, apart from the BJP and Congress, only AITC declared donations through electoral bonds.
The donations received by the BJP in 2017-18 were worth Rs 210 crore, which increased to Rs 1,450.89 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 2,555 crore in 2019-20. The donations through electoral bonds for the BJP in 2020-21 stood at Rs 22.38 crore. Of the Rs 716.2 crore received by the Congress through electoral bonds, Rs 5 crore was in 2017-18, Rs 383.26 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 317.86 crore in 2019-20. In 2020-21, the Congress received Rs 10.07 crore through electoral bonds.
ELECTORAL BONDS PURCHASED IN GUJARAT
The ADR report said that between March 2018 and October 2022, a total of 595 bonds worth Rs 343 crore were purchased from the Gandhinagar main branch of the State Bank of India (SBI).
Maximum electoral bonds were purchased in the denomination of Rs 1 crore (315), followed by 280 bonds in the denomination of Rs 10 lakh. Also, no electoral bonds were purchased in the denominations of 1,000, 10,000 and 1,00,000.
As per the Ministry of Finance, electoral bonds can be purchased for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs one crore from the specified branches of the SBI.
According to the ADR, electoral bond is a financial instrument for making donations to political parties and was first pronounced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2017-18. According to the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, electoral bond is a bond issued in the nature of a promissory note, which shall be bearer in character.
“A bearer instrument is one, which does not carry the name of the buyer or payee, no ownership information is recorded and the holder of the instrument (i.e. political party) is presumed to be its owner,” the ADR said in a separate report.
PARTIES EARNED RS 16,000 CRORE BETWEEN 2016-17 AND 2020-21
The report, released on Sunday, said the total income declared by national and regional political parties, whose annual reports were available on the Election Commission’s website, is Rs 16,071.60 crore between 2016-17 and 2020-21.
“Around 79.91% or Rs 12,842.28 crore of the total income in five years is declared by eight national parties, while the remaining Rs 3,229.32 crore (20.09 percent) was declared by regional parties,” the report reads.
On the other hand, the total donations declared by national and regional political parties in their annual audit reports available on the Election Commission’s website amount to Rs 12,745.61 crore.
“Around 82.15% or Rs 10,471.04 crore of the total donations in five years were declared by eight national parties, while remaining Rs 2,274.57 cr (17.85%) was declared by regional parties," it said.
The report said that the maximum funds (Rs 4,760.09 crore) as well as donations (Rs 4,186.992 crore) were received by national parties in FY 2019-20 – the year of the Lok Sabha elections.
During the five-year period, the total income and total donations of the eight national parties was four times that of regional parties.
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