The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received donations nine times more than the five national parties combined in 2016-17, an analysis of the parties' declared incomes has revealed.
The BJP is clearly a favourite with the corporate donors -- which contribute to the bulk of major parties' funds -- getting an amount over 14 times than what was donated to the Congress, said a report prepared by nonprofit Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Wednesday.
The total donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the seven national parties was Rs 589.38 crore from 2,123 donations (both individual and corporate).
The BJP declared a total of Rs 532.27 crore from 1,194 donations while the Congress declared receiving Rs 41.90 crore from 599 donations.
"The donations declared by the BJP is more than nine times the aggregate declared by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India and the Trinamool Congress for the same period," said the report.
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared that the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2016-17.
The corporate sector made 708 donations to the national political parties amounting to Rs 563.24 crore (which is 95.56 percent of the total donations) while 1,354 individual donors donated Rs 25.07 crore (4.25 percent of total donations) to the parties during FY 2016-17.
Of the total corporate donations, as many as 531 went to the BJP, amounting to Rs 515.43 crore, while 663 individual donors donated Rs 16.82 crore to the saffron party.
Congress received Rs 36.06 crore via 98 donations from corporate houses and Rs 5.84 crore via 501 individual donors during the same period.
Among the top donors to political parties is the Satya Electoral Trust which donated Rs 251.22 crore to BJP (94.76 percent of total funds received by the party) and Rs 13.90 crore to the Congress (5.24 percent of total funds received by the party).
NCP received Rs 2 crore from B.G. Shirke Construction Technology Pvt. Ltd. and Rs 1.10 crore from A.N. Enterprises Infra Services Pvt. Ltd.
The total donations of the national parties during FY 2016-17 increased by Rs 487.36 crore -- an increase of 478 percent -- from Rs 102.02 crore declared during the financial year 2015-16.
Donations to BJP increased from Rs 76.85 crore during FY 2015-16 to Rs 532.27 crore during FY 2016-17 (a 593 per cent hike) while NCP has declared an increase of 793 percent, from Rs 71 lakhs in FY 2015-16 to Rs 6.34 cr in FY 2016-17.
Donations to Trinamool increased by 231 per cent, the CPI-M and Congress showed an increase of 190 per cent and 105 per cent respectively while donations to the CPI decreased by 9 per cent during 2016-17.
The total income of the national parties from known donors (details of donors as available from contribution report submitted by parties to Election Commission) was Rs 589.38 crore, which is 37.8 per cent of the total income of the seven parties during FY 2016-17.
The total income of the parties from other known sources (such as sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc) was Rs 258.99 crore, or 16.61 per cent of their total income during 2016-17.
The total income of the seven national parties from unknown sources (income specified in the IT Returns whose sources are unknown), for the FY 2016-17 was Rs 710.80 crore, which is 45.59 per cent of the total income of the parties from all over India, the data showed.
"Among the unknown sources of funding, maximum funds were collected under 'voluntary contributions' by BJP during FY 2016-17. A total of Rs 464.84 crore was collected under this head which formed 99.98 per cent of the total income from unknown sources of BJP," the report said.
The most preferred unknown source of funding for Congress was "sale of coupons" under the party collected a total of Rs 115.64 crore which formed 91.69 per cent of the party's total income from unknown sources during FY 2016-17.
The ADR advocates that no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000 should be left blank and that 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 nearly 50 per cent of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present, it is so in India," the ADR report pointed out.