Navya Singh

Businesses and corporates donated at least ₹ 876 crores to national political parties in 2018-19 and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the biggest recipient of such donations, followed by the Congress, a study carried out by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed on October 15.

While the BJP received ₹ 698 crores, the Congress got ₹ 122.5 crores, ADR said, citing data made public by the Election Commission of India, that all parties need to disclose details about donors and donations above ₹ 20,000 in a financial year.

"The collective donations equaling ₹ 876.10 crores accounted for nearly 92 per cent 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 ₹ 698.082 crores from 1,573 corporate donors followed by Congress which received a total contribution of ₹ 122.5 crores from 122 corporate donors, and NCP with ₹ 11.345 crores from 17 corporate donors," it said.

"Out of the total of ₹ 876.10 crores donated by the corporate/ business houses to the 5 national parties in FY 2018-19, ₹ 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 added.

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

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

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

"A total of ₹ 13.364 crores 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 advised that corporates should reveal details of their political contributions available in the public domain through their websites for greater 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.

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