Political parties earned a whopping Rs4,662 crore in seven years!
MDT/PTI 10 September 2012

According to a study, over the past seven years, while Congress earned Rs2,008 mostly from 'selling coupons', major part of BJP's Rs994 crore income came through donations from corporates and trusts owned by major companies

New Delhi: Political parties in India have 'earned' a whooping Rs4,662 crore through donation and other sources since 2004 with the ruling Congress at the top with an income of Rs2,008 crore followed by BJP at Rs994 crore, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) claimed, reports PTI.
Relying on the Income-Tax (I-T) returns and list of donors submitted to the Election Commission (EC) for the period 2004-2011, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) released a report on the income of 23 major parties.
They said the income of parties showed a steady growth since 2004. Congress' earnings went up from Rs222 crores in 2004 to Rs307 crores in 2011 as is the case with BJP.
The figures compiled by ADR and NEW show that Congress' income is Rs2,008 crores, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011 though the percentage of donations is just 14.42%.
On the contrary, 81.47% of BJP's total income of Rs994 crore in the past seven years came through donations from corporate houses and trusts owned by major firms, including London-listed Vedanta, the NGO said.
The NGOs said donations and voluntary contributions seem to be one of the major sources of income for most of the political parties and demanded more transparency in functioning of electoral trusts run by corporates and that political parties must be declared as public authorities.
"It is a black box of the political parties. Basic source of corruption in this country is political funding. By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption, but can make a major dent," Prof Jagdee Chhokar, Founder member of ADR, told a press conference. 
Interestingly, General Electoral Trust (GET) of the Aditya Birla Group and Torrent Power Ltd has given donations to both Congress and BJP. While GET gave Rs36.4 crore as donations to Congress, it contributed Rs26 crore to the BJP's coffers, according to the report.
While national parties like Congress and BJP got donations from corporate houses and trusts, regional outfits like the DMK have received lakhs of ruppees as donation from its own partymen.
Surprisingly, the CPI(M)'s income from 2004-2011 is Rs417 crore, mostly contributions from individuals who have given less than Rs20,000 each, just behind BSP's Rs484 crore, while other major Left party, CPI, has earned only Rs6.7 crore. The SP's income, according to ADR, is Rs278 crores.
ADR and NEW said these figures were collected after a protracted battle with political parties and Income Tax Department through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Other major donators to Congress are Torrent Power Ltd (Rs14.15 crore), Bharti Electoral Trust of Airtel (Rs11 crore), Tata's Electoral Trust (Rs9 crore), Sterlite Industries (Rs6 crore, ITC (Rs5 crore), Adani Enterprises, Jindal Steel and Videocon Appliances.
Again, GET has been the major contribuor to BJP's income by donating Rs26 crore, followed by Torrent Power (Rs13 crore), and Public and Politial Awareness Centre, which the NGos claimed belong to Vedanta, (Rs9.5 crore).
Another interesting fact that emerged was Asianet TV holding gave Rs10 crore to BJP and Rs2.5 crore to Congress in the past seven years.
The NGOs also said 18 regional or state parties have never filed their contribution reports to the Election Commission since 2004. Prominent among them include National Conference of J&K, Trinamool Congress and INLD.
The income of other parties are NCP (Rs160 crore), AIADMK (Rs59 crore), SAD (Rs25 crore), National Conference (Rs21 crore), JD(U) (Rs26 crore), TDP (Rs53 crore), DMK (Rs40 crore), Trinamool Congress (Rs9 crore), Shiv Sena (Rs32 crore), LJP (Rs4 crore) TRS and RLD (Rs10 crore each), Forward Bloc (Rs98 lakh) and Sikkim Democratic Front (Rs92 lakh), the least among all.

While BSP has declared that it has not received any donations above Rs20,000, the CPI said its leaders AB Bardhan and D Raja contributed Rs65 lakh and Rs21 lakh, respectively by collecting donations from various sources.

The NGOs also alleged that some of the companies whose names have been cropped up in the mining scam have also contributed to the political parties.

It also alleged that FRCA rules have also been flouted by parties which received donations from foreign-listed companies.

During 2009-2011, the TRS has 99.98% of its income coming from donations followed by JD(U) and LJP.
10 years ago
While one has to agree that fighting election in India is 'expensive', the argument that electoral politics is the main source or 'reason' for corruption is misleading.Perhaps, greed and sense of insecurity of people who somehow reach certain positions end up in a tendency for such people to slice away assets that pass through them to their pockets. Corruption is a lifestyle disease which is curable hundred per cent. Like any other addiction, the people who get into it refuse to get out and trap in people around them also.
anantha ramdas
10 years ago
On "donations" made to various political parties, is there a way of finding out how much was cash and other forms of traceable payments like cheques, drafts etc?

A "donation" collector presumably dips his/her hand in the kity and maybe everyone concerned knows, but they dont talk about it, because, they "are in it, together".

what a way generate and pass the black money and make it white and "pure", shall we say?
Replied to anantha ramdas comment 10 years ago
Thanks for your comment, Sir. May we request you to kindly check the document file in this story. From page 15 onwards, you will find the donations and payment mode.
Madhur Kotharay
10 years ago
One of my good friends who is pretty high up in a national political party told me that it costs about Rs 15-20 crores per seat to run the national elections. If a party is going to contest even 400 seats, they would need Rs 6000 crores just to compete the national elections, leave alone state assembly elections.

So Rs 1000-2000 crore is not really a whopping amount. In fact, it is pittance for a national party, given its cost structure. Calculate it per seat: 5000 volunteers, 1-3 months of campaign - their transport & food, hoardings, etc.

My friend hinted that the main cause of most corruption is this cost of running the electoral politics. He said that even the cleaner-appearing parties indulge in courruption some form or the other, just to survive. There is just no escape for anyone.

If anyone thinks that these tens of thousands of crores of bribes taken go just into politicians' pockets, they are mistaken. What use a politician has for one thousand crores if he cannot use it for himself or his family? Most people has no clue that it is practically impossible to spend 100 crore of black money for oneself. Try to think of a way of doing that without attracting some kind of scrutiny!

Electoral reforms will be a starting point if we want to curb the corruption.
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