Sale of coupons and voluntary donations a major source of revenue for political parties
The analysis of income tax returns of the political parties by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) has revealed interesting facts and figures. The six national parties together registered a total income of Rs. 991.2 crore in 2012-13, while the amount spent by them was just Rs. 648.7 crore
· the highest income was by the Congress at Rs. 425.69 crore.
· the second highest was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Rs.324.16 crore.
· at the third position was the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) with 126.09 crore,
· the Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) earned Rs.87.63 crore,
· the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had an income of Rs.26.56 crore, and
· the Communist Party of India (CPI) was the last with an income of Rs.1.07 crore.
Sale of coupons was listed as the most important source of income by most of the political parties.
· the Congress earned Rs.312.24 crore (73.35 % of the total income) from the sale of coupons/publications, and
· the NCP earned Rs.3.76 crore from the sale of coupons (14.16 % of the total income).
Another important source of income of the political parties was voluntary contributions and donations
· CPI-M received about 57 percent of the total Income through donations and
· In case of the BJP, the donations amounted to 83.76 percent of its total income.
In case of an amount above Rs. 20,000/-, the political parties are bound to submit details of donations annually including the name, address, PAN number of the donor besides the mode and amount of payment. However, the total quantum of donations declared by them was merely Rs. 99.14 crore received from 3,777 donors. The BSP has claimed that it received no donation above Rs. 20,000/-.
With the political parties resisting to make their receipts and expenditure open to public scrutiny, the ADR has demanded that national and regional political parties must be asked to provide all information on their finances under the RTI Act.