Out of an income of Rs 1,293 crore declared by six national parties (complete details for CPM were not available) in 2017-18, more than half (Rs 689 crore) came from “unknown sources”, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
In their IT returns, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations donating less than Rs 20,000, nor those who donate via electoral bonds, as a result of which the source of these funds cannot be identified. Such unknown sources include electoral bonds, sale of coupons, voluntary contributions etc.
Breaking up the Rs 689 crore based on the parties’ IT returns, the ADR found that over half (Rs 354 crore) came from voluntary contributions, and a little under one-third (Rs 215 crore) through electoral bonds. Among parties, the BJP accounted for Rs 553 crore of the income from unknown sources, which is 80% of the total.
Between 2004-05 and 2017-18, the national parties have collected Rs 8,721 crore from unknown sources, the ADR said. Out of this, the Congress and the NCP earned a combined Rs 3,573 crore, or 40%, from sale of coupons.