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02.10.2018
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Election Commission has written to the Law Commission to consider the latter’s 2015 recommendation to allow the anonymous cash donations up to Rs. 20 crore only or 20% of the total receipt, whichever is lower. It hopes the move will bring transparency and prevent the political parties to put black money into their accounts as small donations that do not require declaration of the name of the donors as they account for at the most only Rs. 20 crore in a year.

NEW DELHI: As a drive to curb misuse of money power in the elections, The Election Commission is pushing for a 20% cap on the small cash donations received anonymously by the political parties as recommended in 2015 by the Law Commission.
Concerned that most of the donations are received by the parties unanimously to escape declaration of the names of the donors giving more than Rs 20,000, the EC noted the change of the ceiling to Rs 2,000 last year also may not make much impact since a check on the accounts showed that all parties, including Congress and BJP as also left and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress showed on an average 46% of income from small donations. The worst is the case of Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which claimed not receiving any donation above Rs 20,000 between 2004-05 and 2014-15 as it claimed all funds came in only small donations.
In its latest report, it claimed not receiving any funds above the new limit of Rs 2,000 in the financial year 2017-18. The Election Commission has, therefore, written to the Law Commission to consider the Law Commission’s recommendation of the year 2015 to allow the anonymous cash donations only up to Rs 20 crore or 20% of the total receipt, whichever is lower.
It hopes that the move will bring transparency and prevent the political parties to put black money into their accounts as small donations that do not require declaration of the name of the donors as they account for at the most only Rs 20 crore in a year. According to a study by election watch body Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on funds received by various political parties between 2004-05 and 2014-15, the BSP has always shown receipt of only small donations to escape declaration of name of any big donors, while its archrival in Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party (SP) claimed that 94.9% of the total funds came from the anonymous donors. Its study also showed that 83% of the Congress Party’s income was from small donations and it was 65% in case of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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