Political parties, including national and regional parties, have received about 68.90% of their donations from unknown sources, while 12 regional parties have never filed their contributions report since FY2004-05, reveals an analysis by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). 
Out of the total income of Rs11,367.34 crore of national and regional parties received during FY2004-05 to FY2014-15, about 70% or Rs7,832.98 crore came from unknown sources, it says, adding, "An analysis of their (political parties) Income Tax returns and statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that the sources remain largely unknown. At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations giving less than Rs20,000. As a result, over two-thirds of the funds cannot be traced and are from 'unknown' sources. This becomes very relevant in the light of recent events when demonetisation was announced so as to weed out black money from the society."
Political Parties play a key role in democracies as they contest elections, form governments, formulate policies and are responsible for providing governance and improve the lot of the common man. Political parties need access to money in order to reach out to the electorate, explain their goals and policies and receive inputs from people. But where do they collect their funds from?
While the national political parties were brought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision. Full transparency is, unfortunately, not possible under the current laws, and it is only the RTI that can keep citizens informed, NEW Added.
Here are the Highlights of the analysis
Income of Political Parties from Known and Unknown sources: 
The contribution statements, submitted by the political parties declaring names and other details of donors who contribute above Rs20,000, are the only known sources of income of political parties. 
The unknown sources are income declared in the Income Tax returns but without giving source of income for donations below Rs20,000. Such unknown sources include 'sale of coupons', 'Aajiwan Sahayog Nidhi', '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. 
Other known sources of income include sale of moveable & immoveable assets, old newspapers, membership fees, delegate fee, bank interest, sale of publications and levy whose details would be available in the books of accounts maintained by political parties.
Six National parties Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and 51 Regional recognised were considered for this analysis, including All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), which was declared a national party only in September 2016.
Currently there are 48 Regional recognised parties: Haryana Janhit Congress –Bhajan Lal (HJC-BL) and Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) merged with INC during FY2014-15 and Manipur Peoples Party (MPP) was de-recognised in 2013.
Total income of national and regional political parties between FY2004-05 and 2014-15: Rs11,367.34 crore.
Total income of political parties from known donors (details of donors as available from contribution report submitted by parties to Election Commission): Rs1,835.63 crore, which is 16% of the total income of the parties.
Total income of political parties from other known sources (e.g., sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.): Rs1,698.73 crore, or 15% of total income. 
Total income of political parties from unknown sources (income specified in the I-T Returns whose sources are unknown): Rs7,832.98 crore, which is 69% of the total income of the parties.
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