Source: 
Business Standard
http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/unknown-sources-make-up-for-75-of-funding-to-political-parties-113091301017_1.html
Date: 
14.09.2013
City: 
New Delhi

Almost 75 per cent of the funds of India’s six national political parties -- , Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) — comes from ‘unknown’ sources, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The organisation, which was at the forefront of the initiative to bring political parties under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI), said on Friday that despite the claims made by the national parties that all details of funding were submitted to the Election Commission (CIC) and with the income-tax department, the sources of funding to these parties largely remain unknown.

Jagdeep Chokkar, founder member of ADR and a former Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) professor, said: “This has only strengthened our case that political parties should come under RTI.”

After the CIC ruling bringing political parties under the RTI, most political parties joined hands in Parliament to amend the RTI Act. However, the amendment Bill has now been sent to the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel for an elaborate study.

After analysing the income-tax returns and statements filed by the parties, ADR found that most of the sources of funding of the six parties are unknown. The parties claimed they got the amounts in question through “sale of coupons” and funding.

Of the total income of parties between 2004-05 and 2011-12 amounting to Rs 4,895 crore, as much as Rs 3,674 crore came from funds whose sources are unknown, said ADR.

For the Congress, 82.5 per cent amounting to Rs 1,951 crore was sourced through unknown funds, while for the , it was 73 per cent or Rs 952.5 crore. The , which is reputed to be “cash-rich”, gets Rs 307 crore amounting to 61 per cent from unknown sources.

“Why can’t the public get to know about the funding of parties when this is the practice in many countries including smaller ones like Nepal and Bhutan in our neighbourhood,” asked Trilochan Sastry of the ADR. “ADR recommends that full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the Right to Information,” he said.

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