Five national parties get 80% of income from unknown sources: NGO

Nearly 80 per cent of the total income of five national political parties are from unknown sources, NGO watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has said.

Based on the income tax returns filed by CPM, Congress, BSP, NCP and CPI, the total income declared by these parties is Rs844.71 crore while the ruling BJP is yet to submit its I-T returns despite a deadline of November 2014.

Releasing the data analysed by it on Tuesday, ADR's state coordinator Bhaskar Assoldekar said that the BJP is yet to submit its report to the Election commission of India.

Of the total declared income of Rs844.71 crore of the five parties, Rs673.08 crore, ie, 79.68 per cent of the total, has come from unknown sources. The I-T returns leave out declaration of source for all donations below 20,000, which add up to nearly 80 per cent of the total.

These unknown sources include sale of coupons, purse money, relief fund, miscellaneous income, voluntary contributions, contribution from meetings and morchas, the details of which not available in the public domain.

Coupon sales (smaller donations) accounted for nearly 57 per cent of total income of these parties. Collection from sale of coupons was one of the major sources of income for Congress which collected Rs477.316 crore while NCP declared collections of Rs8.32 crore.

A comparison of total donations declared by parties in their I-T returns (both above and below Rs20,000) and that declared in the donations report shows that only 41 per cent of the total donations of the parties came from voluntary contributions above Rs20,000.

A total of Rs111.29 crore (59 per cent) of the total donations to national parties during 2013-14 were from donors whose details are not available in the public domain.

Congress recorded the highest income among the five parties with a total income of Rs598.06 crore, which forms 70.8 per cent of the total income. CPM declared the second highest income of Rs121.87 crore, which forms 14.43 per cent of the total income of the national parties.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had last year asked the presidents/general secretaries of all political parties, to mandatorily submit details of their audited report to it.

The ADR report analyses the total income and expenditure incurred by the national parties during FY 2013-14, as declared by the parties in their I-T returns submitted to the ECI. The due date for submission of annual audited accounts for the parties was 30 November 2014.

Of the six national parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the CPI , the CPI(M) and the Nationalist Congress Party submitted their audited report, while the Indian National Congress submitted its report under protest stating that unless necessary amendments were made in the Representation of People's Act, 1951, the ECI did not have the power to demand such reports from the parties.

The BJP, in its letter dated 9 July, had requested for four weeks' time but is yet to file the required reports.