New Delhi: Even as the Election Commission recommended to the government to ban anonymous donations above Rs 2,000 to political parties, it has been revealed that seven national parties in India received a total of Rs 102.2 crore as donations in fiscal 2015-16, compared to Rs 528.67 crore in the previous year.
This showed a dip of about 84 percent, the information submitted to the Election Commission by the parties showed.
The EC has also recommended to the government to amend laws to bar tax exemption to parties that do not contest elections and win seats in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said that national parties have declared an amount of Rs 102.2 crore from 1,744 donations of or above Rs 20,000 in 2015-16.
Of this, Rs 1.45 crore was in cash, which is merely 1.42 per ent of the total amount.
According to rules, donations below Rs 20,000 are not required to be reported to the Election Commission, but they have to be mentioned in the Income Tax Returns filed by the parties.
The political parties, however, need not pay any Income Tax.
The seven national parties are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Of these, the BSP said they have not received any donations which were more than Rs 20,000.
According the report, the NCP showed the maximum decrease of 98 percent in donations, declaring Rs 71 lakh under the head in this financial year, compared to Rs 38.82 crore in 2014-15.NCP showed the maximum decrease of 98 percent in donations, declaring Rs 71 lakh under the head in this financial year, compared to Rs 38.82 crore in 2014-15.
The ruling BJP declared Rs 76.85 crore as donation in the financial year 2015-16, a dip of 82 per cent from financial year 2014-15, when they received Rs 437.35 crore.BJP declared Rs 76.85 crore as donation in the financial year 2015-16, a dip of 82 per cent from financial year 2014-15, when they received Rs 437.35 crore, as per IANS.
Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the BJP had shown an increase of 137 percent in its donations.BJP had shown an increase of 137 percent in its donations.
The Congress got Rs 20.42 crore, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Rs 1.81 crore, Communist Party of India (CPI) Rs 1.58 crore and the Trinamool Congress got Rs 65 lakh.
Govt plans threshold for parties to enjoy tax exemption: FM
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that government plans to set a threshold criteria for political parties to enjoy tax exemptions to check money laundering by outfits that do not contest elections.
"I can point out one is invisible donation which Election Commission says is anonymous and the second is when political parties got exemptions. There are about 40/50/60 political parties which effectively contest elections in Centre and the states, (but) you have a large number of political parties which got registered not for contesting election but for availing tax exemption. Now this part is easier to tackle. I have already asked the Revenue Secretary to look into this and therefore we will have to put a threshold criteria so that we are able to eliminate those which are not real political parties but only for money conversion which have come in," Jaitley said at an event on Tuesday, as per PTI.
He had added that many political parties do not contest elections but only accept donations and convert money.
Jaitley had also underlined the need for making political funding as transparent as possible, saying donations must be smaller in size but huge in number.
He had further said that once the country transforms into a less cash economy, the donors of the political party won't have the kind of money in future to donate.
(With Agency inputs)