82% of corporate donations to parties in seven years went to BJP: ADR

In contrast, Congress received only Rs 376.02 crore during these seven years
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 16 October 2020, 08:10 IST
Last Updated : 16 October 2020, 08:10 IST
Last Updated : 16 October 2020, 08:10 IST
Last Updated : 16 October 2020, 08:10 IST

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The BJP appears to be the favourite for corporates when it comes to donations, with the saffron party bagging 82.3% or Rs 2,319.48 crore of the Rs 2,818.05 crore given to national parties in seven years between 2012-13 and 2018-19.

In contrast, Congress received only Rs 376.02 crore during these seven years while other national parties -- NCP (Rs 69.81 crore), Trinamool Congress (Rs 45.01 crore(, CPI-M (Rs 7.5 crore) and CPI (Rs 22 lakh) -- got much lesser.

Another national party, BSP has declared that it has not received any donation above Rs 20,000, which needs to be reported, while Trinamool Congress was accorded national party status only on 2 September, 2016.

The analysis by private election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that BJP had pipped the Congress in attracting corporate donations even when it was not in power at the Centre.

When the Congress-led UPA was in power, the BJP got Rs 72.99 crore in 2012-13, which rose to Rs 156.98 crore the next fiscal. In comparison, Congress got just Rs 7.54 crore, one-tenth of what the BJP received in 2012-13 and Rs 53.51 crore, around one-third the saffron party received in 2013-14.

For the year 2018-19, Rs 876.10 crore, which was 92% of the total donations received, was donated by all the corporate and business houses to BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, NCP and CPI(M), the ADR report said.

While CPI reported that it did not receive any corporate donations, BSP said it did not receive any donation above Rs 20,000, which needs to be reported. Donations from corporates to National parties increased by 131% from the period between 2004-12 to 2018-19.

In the last fiscal, BJP received Rs 698.08 crore from 1,573 corporates, which was 94% of the Rs 742.15 crore it received as donations. Congress was a distant second with Rs 122.5 crore (82% of Rs 148.58 crore) from 122 such donors.

Trinamool Congress got Rs 42.98 crore from one donor while NCP got 11.34 crore from 17 donors and CPI(M) 1.18 crore from 62 corporate or business houses. CPI received Rs 1.59 crore as donations but none from corporates.

Progressive Electoral Trust was the top donor to BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress in 2018-19. The Trust donated three times in a single year to the three parties each, amounting to a total of Rs 455.15 crore.

Of the Rs 876.10 crore donated by the corporates to five national parties, Rs 20.54 crore was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or whose nature of work was unclear.

"A total of 319 donations through which National parties received Rs 31.42 crore do not have address details in the contribution form. National parties have received Rs 13.57 crore from 34 donations which do not have PAN details in the contribution form. Rs 13.33 crore or 99.75% of such donations without PAN as well as address details worth Rs 13.36 crore belong to the BJP," the report said.

Also, it added. 341 donations amounting to Rs 20.54 crore were corporate entities which have zero internet presence or if they do there is ambiguity about the nature of their work. "Contact and address details of most of these companies were unavailable in cases where they were visible online," it added.

In its recommendations, the ADR said all donors who have donated a minimum of Rs 20,000 as a single or multiple donations should provide their PAN details. Such incomplete contributions reports must be returned to the parties by the Election Commission, to deter them from providing incomplete information.

Corporates should make details of their political contributions available in the public domain through their websites (in annual reports or in a dedicated page) for increasing transparency in political financing.

"Annual scrutiny of donations reports of National, Regional and unrecognised parties should be initiated by a dedicated department of the CBDT, to discourage donations from shell companies or illegal entities," it added.

Published 16 October 2020, 07:59 IST

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