On May 16, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a report titled “Analysis of Sources of Funding of Regional Political Parties of India, FY 2021-22”. In this report, they’ve analysed the funding sources of 27 regional parties. The analysis is done through the audit reports and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
It was found that regional parties got 76.14 per cent of their income from unknown sources. It’s the income specified in the audit reports whose sources are unknown. This income comes from donations which are below Rs 20000. Unknown sources include ‘Donations via Electoral Bonds’, ‘sale of coupons’, ‘relief fund’, ‘miscellaneous income’, ‘voluntary contributions’, ‘contribution from meetings/ morchas’ etc.
Currently, political parties are not required to disclose the names of donors whose contribution is less than Rs. 20,000, because of which a sizeable sum of money comes from ‘unknown’ sources and cannot be tracked.
According to the report, regional parties’ income from unknown sources has increased by 26.41 per cent. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21, regional parties’ total income accounted for Rs 530.70 crore, out of which Rs 263.93 crore or 49.73 per cent came from unknown sources.
But in the current FY 2021-22 reports, the total income is Rs 1165.576 crore, out of which Rs 887.551 crore or 76.147 per cent came from unknown sources. The income coming from known donors is just Rs 145.42 crore or 12.476 per cent, and other known sources (e.g. Membership fees, bank interest etc.) are Rs 132.605 crore, or 11.377 per cent. The details of income coming from known donors and sources should be made available in the books of accounts maintained by political parties.
After analysing the income coming from unknown sources, which is Rs 887.551 crore, it was found that 93.26 per cent or Rs 827.76 crore of income comes from electoral bonds. The unknown income coming from the Sale of coupons is 4.32 per cent (Rs 38.354 crore), and the voluntary contributions (below Rs 20,000) is 2.40 per cent (Rs 21.293 crore).
As per the report, regional parties to declare the highest income from unknown sources include DMK ( Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) (Rs 306.025 crore), BJD (Biju Janata Dal) (Rs 291.096 crore), TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) (Rs 153.037 crore), YSR (Yuvajana Shramika Rythu)-Congress (Rs 60.0168 crore) and JDU (Janata Dal (United)) (Rs 48.3617 crore).
While only DMK, MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) and NPF (Naga People’s Front) provided the details of donations below Rs 20,000.
This data came after analysing 27 regional parties. Earlier, 54 regional (recognised parties) were initially considered for the analysis, of which only 28 filed their Annual Audit and Contribution reports. While the remaining submitted only one report, or their data was not available on the website of ECI.
Also, ADR did not analyse AAP (Aam Adami Party). Though AAP has filed both reports, but they found discrepancies in their donation declarations.