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Political Parties Get More Income from Unknown Sources Than Known

(Association of Democratic Rights)
Twenty-three regional parties, including TRS, have earned an income of Rs 886.95 crore in the financial year 2018-19.
Incidentally, the income from unknown sources is far higher than the known sources and other sources.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analyses the sources of income of parties, in the FY 2018-19, the income of the parties from unknown sources is Rs 482.26 cr. while the income from known sources is just Rs 257.14 cr.
The rest of the income ie Rs 147.54 cr is contributed by other sources.
An analysis of the income tax returns and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that the sources of political parties’ revenues remain largely unknown.
At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organizations giving less than Rs. 20,000.
As a result, a substantial amount of funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources.
While the National Political Parties were brought under the RTI Act by the CIC ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision.
Full transparency is, unfortunately, not possible under the current laws, and what keeps the citizen informed is the provisions of  RTI.
Known sources have been defined as donations above and below Rs 20,000, whose donor details are available through contribution reports as submitted by regional parties to the ECI.
Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), earlier analyzed 28 Regional parties who filed both their Annual Audit and Contribution reports.
For FY 2017-18, the total income of Regional parties amounted to Rs 183.39 cr. Rs 31.82 cr or 17.35% of this came from unknown sources.
For this analysis, 52 Regional (recognized) parties were initially considered, but out of them, only 26 have filed both their Annual Audit and Contribution reports, of the remaining 11 had not submitted either one of the reports. For the 15 Regional parties’ none of the two reports are available on the ECI website at the time of preparation of this report.
The Annual Audit and Contribution reports of Regional parties such as TRS, SAD, and LJP are available on the website, but parties’ donations’ declaration show discrepancies between data in both reports for FY 2018-19. Therefore, these parties have not been analyzed in this report.
Total income of 23 Regional political parties in FY 2018-19: Rs 885.956 cr.

The total income of political parties from known donors (details of donors as available from the Contribution Report submitted by parties to Election Commission)is  Rs 257.14 cr, which is 29.02% of the total income of the parties.
The total income of political parties from other known sources(e.g., Membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.) is Rs 147.54 cr, or 16.65% of total income.
The total income of political parties from unknown sources (income specified in the audit reports whose sources are unknown) is Rs 481.276 cr, which is 54.32%of the total income of the parties.
The amount of total contributions declared by TRS, SAD, and LJP in their audit reports is less than the number of total donations (above Rs 20,000 only) declared in their contribution reports by Rs 10.50 lakhs, Rs 10.20 lakhs and Rs 43 lakhs, respectively. This is an example of disregard of the parties towards the guidelines formulated for transparency and disclosure requirements.
During FY 2018-19, the total income of Regional Parties from Unknown Sources amounted to Rs 481.276 cr and constituted 54.32% of their total income as declared in their audit reports. 90.798% or Rs 436.99 cr of this came from Electoral Bonds, and Regional Parties collected Rs 37.14 cr from Voluntary contributions.
Some of the top Regional Parties to declare the highest unknown income include BJD (Rs 213.543 cr), YSR-C (Rs 100.504 cr), Shivsena (Rs 60.73 cr), JDS (Rs 39.134 cr) and TDP (Rs 37.78 cr).
Regional parties such as the SP, DMK, AAP, GFP, MNS, and NPF provided details of donations below Rs 20,000 also