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Date: 
10.03.2020
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Despite the Government claims in transparency in the electoral bonds, more than 67 per cent of the funds of the political parties cannot be traced and are from 'unknown' sources. According to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR),  of the total income of Rs 2,512.18 crore of  six national parties from unknown sources, Rs 1,960.68 crore or 78 per cent came from electoral bonds

The BJP raised Rs 1,612.04 crore as funds from unknown sources which is 64 per cent of the total income of national parties from unknown sources (Rs 2512.98 crore) while the Congess received Rs 728.88 crore from unknown sources which is 29 per cent of the total income of all national political parties.  This income BJP forms more than 1.5 times more the aggregate of income from unknown sources.

According to ADR report,  the seven national parties have collected Rs 11,234.12 crore funds (from unknown sources) between 2004-05 and 2018-19. The income of national parties--BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), NCP, CPI and BSP, was Rs 3,749.37 crore in 2018-19. The report was prepared by the ADR on the basis of Income Tax returns and donations statements filed with the Election Commission by the political parties.  At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations giving less than Rs 20,000 nor those who donated via Electoral Bonds.

In its report, ADR recommended that full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI.  "A very large percentage of the income of political parties cannot be traced to the original donor. Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan.

In none of these countries is it possible for more than 67% of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India," it said.  It further recommended that scrutiny of financial documents submitted by the political parties should be conducted annually by a body approved by CAG and EC so as to enhance transparency and accountability of political parties with respect to their funding.

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