Hidden sources funding political parties: Study

Mumbai: The first ever study on the income-tax returns and statements filed by six major national political parties — Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, CPI(M), CPI,  Bahujan Samaj Party and NCP — with the Election Commission, has brought forth startling revelations regarding the massive income of these parties from unknown sources.
According to the study conducted by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the total income of these six political parties between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was Rs 4,895.96 crore, of which Rs 3,674.50 crore came from unknown sources. Moreover, the funds received by the parties from registered sources such as sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc. formed only one-sixth of their total income, which was Rs 785.60 crore (16.05 per cent) from 2004-05 to 2011-12. The study has also revealed that 75.1 per cent of their total income came from unknown sources, largely in the form of black money.The analysis of 31 elections held between 2008 and 2012 stated that the total amount received by these six parties at the party headquarters came to Rs 967.41 crore, while an additional amount of Rs 1,577.95 crore was earned at the state unit level. While, the Congress received cash worth Rs 251.96 crore (90.38 per cent of its funds) at its party headquarters between 2008 and 2012, a meagre amount of Rs 26.81 crore (9.62%) was received by cheque.The study further revealed that the Congress party did not declare its income from the funds that it received at the party headquarters for as many as 14 elections out of 31, including the Lok Sabha elections. However, the BSP received more funds than the Congress with a total of Rs 330.36 crore during the election period between 2008 and 2012.The study also stated that the NCP received 83.78 per cent of its funds by cash and only 16.22 per cent by cheque/DD. A total of Rs 2,545.36 crore was received at the central and state levels within an average of 115 days between the date of announcement of the elections and the date of completion.Meanwhile, the total income of the BJP from the funds received at the state unit level during the elections held in 2009 was Rs 445.39 crore, whereas the party had declared its maximum income as Rs 169.56 crore. 

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