saumya singh

In the financial year 2020-21, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared assets worth Rs 4,990 crore, representing a substantial increase in its financial holdings compared to the previous year. This increase was particularly significant, amounting to a growth of approximately 21.17 percent. By the financial year 2021-22, the BJP’s declared assets had risen to Rs 6,046.81 crore.

This rise in assets indicates that the BJP experienced substantial financial growth during this period. Such growth in financial assets can be attributed to a variety of factors, including increased donations from supporters and party members, successful fundraising campaigns, and potentially improved financial management strategies. It’s important to note that political parties often rely on financial resources to fund their activities, election campaigns, and other organizational expenses.

The BJP’s ability to raise and manage funds is crucial in the context of Indian politics, as it allows the party to be competitive in elections and undertake various political activities. The increase in declared assets suggests that the party had a strong financial position during this period, which could have contributed to its political influence and activities in the country.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an electoral reform advocacy group, the financial data of several national political parties in India for the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22 revealed some noteworthy trends. In the case of the Indian National Congress (INC), the party declared assets worth Rs 691.11 crore in the financial year 2020-21.

However, over the course of the following year, in 2021-22, the party’s declared assets witnessed a substantial increase of 16.58 percent, reaching a total of Rs 805.68 crore. This significant rise in declared assets suggests that the INC experienced notable financial growth during this period, likely attributed to increased donations, fundraising efforts, and improved financial management strategies.

In contrast, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was the only national party among the analyzed ones to demonstrate a decrease in its annual declared assets. The total assets of the BSP between the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22 decreased by 5.74 percent, dropping from Rs 732.79 crore to Rs 690.71 crore.

This decline in assets indicates a challenging financial situation for the party during this period, which may have implications for its operational capacity and political activities. It’s worth noting that financial resources play a crucial role in political parties’ ability to fund election campaigns and carry out various organizational functions in India’s political landscape.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), there were notable shifts in the financial positions of various national political parties in India for the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22. The Trinamool Congress (TMC), for instance, demonstrated remarkable financial growth during this period. In the financial year 2020-21, the TMC reported total assets amounting to Rs 182.001 crore.

However, in the subsequent fiscal year, 2021-22, the party’s financial standing experienced a staggering increase of 151.70 percent, resulting in total assets of Rs 458.10 crore. This substantial surge in assets signifies a significant boost in the TMC’s financial resources, which could have implications for its ability to fund various political activities and election campaigns.

Additionally, the ADR report also shed light on the liabilities declared by national political parties. For the fiscal year 2020-21, the total liabilities declared by all national parties amounted to Rs 103.55 crore. The Indian National Congress (INC) led the list with the highest declared liabilities at Rs 71.58 crore, followed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) with liabilities of Rs 16.109 crore.

In the subsequent fiscal year, 2021-22, the INC once again topped the list with declared liabilities of Rs 41.95 crore, followed by CPI(M) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which reported liabilities worth Rs 12.21 crore and Rs 5.17 crore, respectively. These figures provide insights into the financial obligations of these political parties and their fiscal responsibility.

Between the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22, five national political parties in India declared a decrease in their liabilities, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The Indian National Congress (INC) reported a significant decrease in its liabilities, amounting to Rs 29.63 crore less in the fiscal year 2021-22 compared to the previous year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also saw a reduction of Rs 6.03 crore in its declared liabilities during the same period. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) decreased its liabilities by Rs 3.89 crore, while the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) reduced its liabilities by Rs 1.30 crore. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) reported a minor decrease of Rs 1 lakh in its liabilities.

The ADR’s report also highlighted the total capital and reserve funds set aside by national political parties during these fiscal years. In FY 2020-21, the cumulative capital and reserve fund of these parties amounted to Rs 7,194 crore, which increased to Rs 8,766 crore for FY 2021-22 after adjusting for liabilities. Among these parties, the BJP declared the highest capital with Rs 6,041.64 crore for FY 2021-22, followed by the INC and CPI(M) with Rs 763.73 crore and Rs 723.56 crore, respectively.

However, the ADR also noted that national political parties did not fully adhere to guidelines provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. These guidelines instruct parties to declare details of financial institutions, banks, or agencies from whom they have taken loans. Moreover, the guidelines specify that parties should disclose the terms of repayment of term loans based on due dates, such as within a year, 1-5 years, or payable after 5 years. Compliance with these guidelines is crucial for ensuring transparency and accountability in the financial dealings of political parties.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) highlighted another critical issue in its report, noting that national political parties in India had not fully adhered to guidelines related to transparency in financial disclosures. These guidelines, endorsed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Election Commission of India, require parties to provide specific details about loans they have given, whether in cash or kind. Furthermore, if such loans constitute more than 10 percent of the total loans, political parties should explicitly declare the nature and amount of these loans. However, the ADR report pointed out that none of the national parties had made this information public.

This observation underscores the existing gap between the guidelines aimed at ensuring transparency in political party finances and their actual implementation by the parties themselves. The ICAI guidelines, though formally endorsed by the Election Commission of India, have yet to be actively embraced by political parties when it comes to disclosing details of their income, loans, and financial transactions. Ensuring full compliance with such guidelines is essential to enhance transparency and accountability in the financial operations of political parties, which play a central role in India’s democratic process.

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