New Delhi: The BJP has once again received the lion’s share of corporate donations made to political parties, raking in more than 72% of contributions from electoral trusts during the fiscal year 2021-22, analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows.
ADR publishes annual reports on contributions made by electoral trusts, which are non-profit organisations set up by companies with the sole objective to distribute the contributions they receive to the political parties. The donations are largely from corproate entities or business houses registered in India, although individuals are also allowed to make donations.
Analysis by ADR showed that during FY 2021-22, BJP received Rs 351.50 crore (72.17%) of the total donations made to political parties by electoral trusts. The Congress, in comparison, received less than the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (rechristened as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi), Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the YSR Congress.
The BJP received nineteen times more donations than the Congress in 2021-22 from electoral trust, analysis by ADR showed. The total donations to the BJP were over 2.5 times of what went to the other nine parties.
According to ADR, the Congress received Rs 18.44 crore from electoral trusts, while the TRS received Rs 40 crore, Samajwadi Party Rs 27 crore, AAP Rs 21.12 crore and YSR Congress Rs 20 crore. The SAD received Rs 7 crore, Punjab Lok Congress Party Rs 1 crore, Goa Forward Party and DMK Rs 50 lakh each through electoral trust, the report said.
Electoral Trusts which have declared receiving contributions during FY 2021-22, have received a total amount of Rs 487.09 crore from corporates and individuals and distributed Rs 487.06 crore (99.99%) to various political parties, ADR said.
Eighty-nine corporate/business houses contributed Rs 475.80 crore to Electoral Trusts in FY 2021-22, of which 62 contributed Rs 456.30 crore to Prudent Electoral Trust, two corporates contributed Rs 10.00 crore to AB General Electoral Trust, three corporates contributed Rs 5 crore to Samaj Electoral Trust and 15 corporates contributed Rs 2.20 crore to Independent Electoral Trust.
The ADR said 40 individuals have contributed to Electoral Trusts in FY 2021-22, 13 individuals contributed Rs 8.53 crore to Prudent Electoral Trust, 15 individuals contributed Rs 2.61 crore to Independent Electoral Trust and 12 individuals gave a total of Rs 14.34 lakh to Small Donation Electoral Trust.
Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India Ltd contributed the highest amount worth Rs 70 crore amongst all donors of the Electoral Trusts, followed by Acrelor Mittal Design and Engg Centre Pvt Ltd with Rs 60 crore and Bharti Airtel Limited which contributed Rs 51 crore, to various Trusts, the report said.
Although the BJP’s share of total corporations reduced by nearly 10% when compared to FY 2020-21, the money it has received has shot up by nearly Rs 130 crore. Last year’s analysis by ADR showed that the BJP received Rs 212.05 crore (82.05%) of the total donations received by all political parties from electoral trusts.
Rules formulated by the Centre stipulate that electoral trusts donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year. The identities of corporates who contribute money to trusts are often unknown. ADR recommends that it would be ideal to include the name of the parent company in the name of the trust to have greater transparency.
It also said that the details of donors to six electoral trusts which were set up before the transparency rules governing contributions were formulated by the Union government remain unknown, “thereby leading to speculation on whether donations to these trusts were only a means of getting tax exemption or a way to convert black money stashed in tax havens to white money in India”. Therefore, details of donors to these electoral trusts should also be disclosed, the organisation said.
Those electoral trusts which have not responded to and complied with the guidelines circulated by the ECI should be heavily penalised as indicated in the notification issued by the ECI to the trusts, ADR said, adding that all corporates should make details of their political contributions available in the public domain through their websites for increasing transparency in political financing.
(With PTI inputs)