BANGALORE: Political parties in India mean business, literally, when it comes to finances.
According to an RTI revelation, the Indian National Congress (INC) is the number one party when it comes to money in their kitty. The INC has, between 2007-2011, earned Rs 1,492.35 crore, while its archrival BJP is close behind at No. 2 with an income of Rs 769.81 crore during the same period. Janata Dal(Secular) is rated No. 3 with an income of Rs 4.63 crore in the four years.
NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Karnataka Election Watch (KEW) had filed the RTI wanting to know about the income and expenditure of the top political parties in India and Karnataka. it has come out that Indian National Congress is also a number one party when it comes to financial income.
While INC declared that its main source of income was through selling of coupons (Rs 1,171.61 crore), for BJP it was through donations (Rs 644.77 crore). While INC has spent more on election expenses (Rs 716.03 crore) and in form of aid to others (Rs 131.18 crore), BJP has spent more on advertising and publicity (Rs 271.00 crore) and travelling and meeting (Rs 219.12 crore).
"Before exercising their franchise, people have the right to know from where political parties get their funds. To hide donors' identity, parties accept donations below Rs 20,000 in the form of coupons. No one knows who funds such coupons. We have brought this to the notice of the Election Commission of India, but the Commission itself has limited powers. The cash transactions also hint at money power in elections. Bribing voters is one of the most corrupt practices. No party should support candidates with tainted record," said Trilochan Sastry, founder member of National Election Watch.
The information that was sought from the I-T department through an RTI application was made public on Saturday in Bangalore. The I-T department, following an order passed by the chief information commissioner, provided the information on income tax returns filed by various political parties. The NGOs, in their report, also noted that JD(S) did not file I-T returns between 2008-09 and 2010-11.
The information was made public on Saturday in Bangalore.
As per the records available with the Election Commission of India, there are six national parties and 46 recognized state parties in India. In addition to this, there are 1,139 unrecognized parties in India.
Top sources of income for major parties of Karnataka for financial year 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11
INC earns maximum from the sale of coupons (Rs 1171.61 crore).
All three parties analyzed have donations/contributions as one of their main source of income. BJP with Rs 644.77 crore has received maximum donation. INC has received Rs 183.82 crore and JD(S) has received Rs 4.58 crore in the form of donations.
Interest collected is also one of the major sources of income for all three parties: INC- Rs 82.15 crore, BJP- Rs 53.41 crore and JD(S) Rs 94,000.
Top 3 items of expenditure of major parties in Karnataka between 2007-2011
The maximum expenditure for INC has been towards elections, amounting to Rs 716.03 crores, followed by expenses towards Aid (Rs 131.18 crores)
Publicity is one of the top three items of expenditure for INC and BJP with the latter spending approximately Rs 271 crores while the former spending Rs 87.42 crores. BJP spends a large sum of money on travelling (Rs 141.15 crores) and meetings (Rs 77.97 crores).
*Among the Top 3 parties analyzed, The INC had highest total income of Rs 1,492.35 crore for the period of 2007-11, followed by BJP with Rs 769.81 crore and JD (S) with only Rs 4.63 crore
*The share of donations in the total income is 83.75% for the BJP, while INC has shown that their share of donations received from the total income is mere 12.31 %. The remaining is largely from sale of coupons. For instance, the INC received close to Rs 1,171 crore though coupon system.