More than 66% of the total income of seven national parties in 2021-22 came from “unknown sources” like electoral bonds, which accounted for a whopping 83%, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The seven parties — the BJP, the Congress, the TMC, the NCP, the CPI, the CPI(M) and the National People’s Party collected ₹2,172 crore from unknown sources in 2021-22, the NGO working for electoral reforms said, citing official data.
The income from unknown sources was 66.04% of their total income. And, ₹1,811.94 crore or 83.41% of the income from unknown sources came through electoral bonds, it further noted.
The “unknown” sources are income declared in the annual audit report by these parties but without giving the source of income, according to the ADR.
At present, political parties are not required to reveal the names of individuals or organisations giving less than ₹20,000 and those who donated via electoral bonds.
The ADR report stated unknown sources include donations via electoral bonds, sale of coupons, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions, and contribution from meetings/morchas.
During the financial year 2021-22, the BJP declared ₹1,161 crore as income from unknown sources which is 53.45% of the total income of national parties from unknown sources, it said.
“This income of BJP is ₹149.86 crore more than the aggregate of income from unknown sources declared by the other six national parties (₹1,011.18 crore),” the ADR said.
The TMC declared ₹528 crore as income from unknown sources which is 24.31% of the total income of national parties from unknown sources.
Between 2004-05 and 2021-22, the national parties collected ₹17,249.45 crore from unknown sources, it said.
The report further states that national parties collected ₹15,077 crore from unknown sources between FY 2004-05 and 2020-21. The combined income of the Congress and the NCP from the sale of coupons between 2004-05 and 2021-22 stands at ₹4,398.51 crore, the ADR said.
“It is to be noted that TMC’s total donations as per the audit report are worth ₹38 lakh (excluding donations via electoral bonds) but the party has declared donations worth ₹43 lakh in the donations statement (details of donations above 4,20,000). Hence, there is a discrepancy in the party’s statement for FY 2021-22,” the ADR said.
The CPI has declared donations through levy, membership fee, party funds and election funds. The organisation said that for this analysis, eight national parties were considered but the BSP declared that it did not receive any funds from voluntary contributions from unknown sources of income.