Despite being in power for a period of 10 years since 2004, Congress has got fewer corporate donations than the BJP since then.

Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR), a Delhi-based think tank, in its latest report revealed that there has been a 613 per cent rise in corporate donations to political parties since UPA-I regime.

Of this BJP has received 77.72 percent share, amounting to Rs 1413 crore, while the Congress received the rest, Rs 405 crore.

The report also pointed out that since the NDA government took over in 2014, BJP has received Rs 991 crore worth of corporate donations in comparison to Rs 173 crore donated to the Congress.

During the ten years of UPA regime, the Congress received corporate donations worth Rs 232 crore while the BJP garnered Rs 422 crore.

In an earlier report, the same think tank had revealed that seven national parties declared a total income of Rs 15.59 billion in 2016-17, with the BJP accounting for Rs 10.34 billion.

"This forms 66.34 percent of the total income of national parties added together during 2016-17," the report said.

Indian National Congress (INC) followed with Rs 2.25 billion, 14.45 percent of the total income, it said, adding that CPI has declared the lowest income of Rs 20.8 million which forms a mere 0.13 percent.

The data has been compiled from Income Tax returns filed by the parties across the country. All donors who have donated a minimum of Rs 20,000 as a single or multiple donations should provide their PAN details.

The report also noted that corporate houses donated a total of Rs 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, constituting 89 per cent of the total contribution from known sources, with the BJP receiving the maximum Rs 705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors.

Of the 18 electoral trusts registered with the Central Board of Direct Taxes, corporate donations worth Rs 47.50 crore via only two trusts — Satya and Samaj — went to three political parties in 2015-16, with over 90 percent of funds going to the BJP alone, followed by the Congress and Janata Dal (United).

As per an analysis by ADR of the submissions by electoral trusts to the Election Commission by the think tank, in 2015-16, Satya Electoral Trust donated 95.74 percent or Rs 45 crore to BJP, while Samaj Electoral Trust donated 39.68 percent or Rs 1 crore of its total income to BJP.

One way to make monetary contributions to political parties is through electoral bonds. Introduced in January this year by the government to promote transparency in funding and donation received by political parties, these bonds can be encashed by an eligible political party only through their bank accounts with the authorised bank.

As of now, India’s largest PSU bank SBI is the only authorised bank to issue and encash these bonds under the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018. Electoral bonds are valid for 15 days from the date of issue, and therefore, if these are deposited after the expiry of the validity period, no payment is made to any payee political party.

The electoral bonds can be bought by any person of India or an entity incorporated or established in India. Any person eligible to purchase electoral bonds can do it either singly or jointly with other individuals.

Only political parties registered under the section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and which have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly of the state, are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

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