Political party activities and election campaigning has become a costly affair in India with both national and regional political parties spending a bombshell during elections. Crores of flow in the market from the party leaders’ hands unofficially. While most of the money is claimed to be from party funds, a report by-poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed shocking facts.
As per the report, national parties collected a whopping amount of ₹3,377.41 crores from unknown sources in the 2019-20 financial year, which was 70.98% of the total income of these parties. An analysis of their IT returns and donation statements filed with the Election Commission shows that sources remain largely unknown.
It can be noted that the parties don’t have to reveal names of individuals or organizations giving less than Rs 20,000 or those who donate through electoral bonds. This has become a loophole as the details of the 70% of the donations are not available with the political parties. While BJP declared Rs 2,642.63 crore as income from unknown sources for the financial year 2019-20, Congress declared the amount to be Rs 526 crore.
The ADR recommended that scrutiny of financial documents submitted by political parties should be conducted annually by a body approved by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Election Commission of India to increase transparency and accountability of political parties with respect to their funding.