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Corporates and business houses donated Rs 876 crore to national political parties in 2018-19: ADR

Corporates and business houses donated at least Rs 876 crore to various national political parties in the fiscal year 2018-19 and the BJP was the biggest recipient of such funds, followed by the Congress, a study conducted by poll rights group ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) showed on Thursday.

While the BJP got Rs 698 crore, the Congress came a distant second with a total amount of Rs 122.5 crore, ADR said, citing data made public by the Election Commission of India, to which all parties are required to disclose details about donors and donations above Rs 20,000 in a financial year.

The collective donations totaling Rs 876.10 crore, made by corporates and business houses, accounted for nearly 92 percent of overall donations received by various national parties during the financial year 2018-19, the report said.

“Out of five national parties, the BJP received maximum donations of Rs 698.082 crore from 1,573 corporate donors followed by Congress which received a total contribution of Rs 122.5 crore from 122 corporate donors, and NCP with Rs 11.345 crore from 17 corporate donors,” it said.

“Out of the total of Rs 876.10 crore donated by the corporate/ business houses to the 5 national parties in FY 2018-19, Rs 20.54 crore was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or whose nature of work is unclear,” the report said.

The report said that a total of 319 donations through which national parties received Rs 31.42 crore do not have address details in the contribution form.

“National parties have received Rs 13.57 crore from 34 donations which do not have PAN details in the contribution form. Rs 13.33 crore or 99.75 percent of such donations without PAN, as well as address details worth Rs 13.364 crore, belong to the BJP,” the report said.

In its recommendations, the ADR said all donors who have donated a minimum of Rs 20,000 as single or multiple donations should provide their PAN details.

“A total of Rs 13.364 crore was collected by the national parties from 274 corporate donors without obtaining their PAN and address details. Such incomplete contributions reports must be returned to the parties by the ECI, to deter them from providing incomplete information,” it said.

The report further recommended that corporates should make details of their political contributions available in public domain through their websites (in annual reports or in a dedicated page) for increasing transparency in political financing.

“Annual scrutiny of donations reports of National, Regional and unrecognized parties should be initiated by a dedicated department of the CBDT, to discourage donations from shell companies or illegal entities,” it said.