Receives Rs 86.94 crore via this route – more than four times the total of other 15 regional parties in 2015-16
Shiv Sena leads by a wide margin when it comes to the donations received by regional political parties above the 20,000 cut-off (for which parties need not disclose the source). In 2015-16, the Maharashtra-based party received a total of Rs 86.84 crore from 143 donations – more than four times the total amount of donations declared by 15 other regional parties during the same period, shows an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW).
The analysis places Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at second spot, with Rs 6.605 crore from 1,187 donations.
The analysis focuses on donations above Rs 20,000, received by regional political parties, during the financial year 2015-16, as submitted by the parties to the election commission of India (ECI). The parties considered for the report are: AAP, AIADMK, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazagam (DMDK), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Janata Dal (Secular), Janata Dal (United), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Naga People's Front (NPF), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Shiv Sena (SHS), Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSR-Congress).
The highlights of the report are:
- The total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the regional parties was Rs 107.62 crore, from 2,249 donations. The figure is 20.20% down from the previous financial year, 2014-15, when they declared receiving Rs 134.86 crore.
- Of the parties considered, AIADMK, BJD, JMM, NPF and RLD have declared receiving NIL donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2015-16.
- Shiv Sena, PMK, AIUDF, DMDK and JDS are the five parties which have declared an increase in the amount of donations received between 2014-15 and 2015-16.
- BJD, JMM, NPF and RLD had declared receiving a total of Rs 25.56 cr during FY 2014-15 but declared receiving no donations above Rs 20,000 for FY 2015-16 while AIADMK declared receiving NIL donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2014-15 & 2015-16.
- MNS has declared a decrease of 95.39%, from Rs 6.08 crore in FY 2014-15 to Rs 28 lakh in FY 2015-16 while donations to SDF decreased from Rs 3.07 crore during FY 2014-15 to Rs 25 lakh during FY 2015-16 (91.86% decrease).
An ECI notification dated August 29, 2014 stated that “…no tax deduction shall be allowed on the contributions made in cash by any person or company to a political party”. This notification was applicable for donations made from FY 2014-15 onwards. But, there has been a marked increase in cash donations to political parties between FY 2014-15 and 2015-16. The 21 regional parties considered for this report, during FY 2014-15, had declared receiving only Rs 30 lakh in cash which formed 0.22% of the total donations to the parties, above Rs 20,000.
- Out of the total donations of Rs 107.62 cr declared by the regional parties, Rs 3.32 crore from 784 donations was received in cash during FY 2015-16. This formed 3.08% of the total donations to the parties.
- Maximum donations in cash was declared by PMK which collected a total of Rs 2.65 crore, followed by AAP with Rs 29.56 lakh and Shiv Sena with Rs 27.27 lakh.
- Among all the states, donors from Tamil Nadu made the highest donations of Rs 2.46 crore in cash followed by donors from Punjab who donated a total of Rs 14.11 lakh in cash.
- All donations in cash from Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh and Malaysia were to AAP. Single donor from Malaysia made five donations of Rs 20,000 each in cash to AAP during FY 2015-16.
- Full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI. Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan. In none of these countries is it possible for 75% of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India.
- The national and regional parties should, ideally, lead by example by filing complete and correct statements of donations to the ECI well in time for public scrutiny so as to encourage financial transparency.
- The National and Regional political parties must provide all information on their finances under the Right to Information Act. This will go a long way in strengthening political parties, elections and democracy.