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Regional parties get over 55% donations from unknown sources: ADR

Regional parties get over 55% donations from unknown sources: ADR

New Delhi: According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), more than 55 per cent of donations received by regional parties in India in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 has "unknown" sources, The Indian Express reported. The ADR report says that electoral bonds accounted for nearly 95 per cent of the donations from unknown sources.

The total donations received by 25 regional parties in the FY 2019-20 amounted to Rs 803.24 crore, and Rs 445.7 crore were attributed to unknown sources. Out of the unknown sourced donations, Rs 426.223 crore came from electoral bonds and Rs 4.976 crore from voluntary contributions, the ADR report says.

The parties from South India, such as TRS with an unknown donation of Rs 89.158 crore, TDP- Rs 81.694 crore, YSR Congress Party- Rs 74.75 crore, DMK- Rs 45.50 crore, and JD(s), are at the top of the list of those who sourced incomes from unknowns. Odisha ruling BJD, with Rs 50.586 crore, is also included in the list.

In the case of donations received by regional parties from "known" sources (details of donors available on the contribution report submitted to Election Commission (EC)), it amounts to 184.623 crore, which is 22.98 per cent of their total income. They received another Rs 172.843 crore, which is 21.52 per cent of total income, through known sources like membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.

During FY 2018-19, regarding the analysed 23 regional parties as per the annual audit and contribution report they filed, ADR states that their total income was Rs 885,956 core and out of which 481.276 crore (54.32 per cent) came from unknown sources.

Meanwhile, the ADR report further says that national parties received "unknown" donations adding up to 70.98 per cent of their income.

ADR said that since the largest dividend of the contributions to these parties proved to be untraceable to the original donors, full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under RTI.

It added that no foreign-funded organisations should be allowed to support or campaign for any candidate or party. The mode of payment of all donations (above and below Rs 20,000), income from sale coupons, membership fees etc., should be declared by the parties in their audit reports submitted to (EC), it suggested.

According to the BJP's election expenditure statement submitted to EC, published on Thursday, it spent Rs 252 crore in the elections held in Assam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala this year. Out of the amount, 151.18 crores alone was spent in West Bengal. Here, the Trinamool Congress spent Rs 154.28 crore.

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