National

BJP, Congress declared Rs 646.82 cr as income from 'unknown sources' in 2015-16

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 06, 2017

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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the key opposition party Congress have declared a total income of Rs 832.42 crore in 2015-16, of which Rs 647 crore (77 per cent) is from “unknown sources.”

“Unknown sources” declared in the income-tax returns are those that account for donations below Rs 20,000, and include ‘sale of coupons’, ‘relief fund’, ‘miscellaneous income’, ‘voluntary contributions’, ‘contribution from meetings/ morchas’ etc.

“The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain,” says an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) based on declarations submitted by the parties to the Election Commission.

While BJP has declared income of Rs 459.56 crore as “voluntary contributions”, Rs 1.2 crore as “miscellaneous income”, Congress has declared Rs 16.80 crore as “voluntary”, Rs 1.2 crore as “miscellaneous” and Rs 167 crore as “sale of coupons”.

The BJP has declared a total income of Rs 570.86 crore during 2015-16, while the Congress has declared a total income of Rs 261.56 crore.

The wide gap between “known” (sale of assets, membership fee, bank interest, party levy etc), and “unknown” sources of income can be gauged from the fact that in 2015-16, BJP and Congress declared only Rs 88.33 crore as total income such sources.

Reiterating the need for greater transparency in election funding, ADR has urged the Election Commission to impose rules that no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000 should be left blank.

“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 per cent of the source of funds to be unknown,” it said in its report.

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Published on September 06, 2017
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