With the Election Commission of India disincentivising cash donations to political parties in August 2014, the number of donations made through cash has steadily declined. In a recent report by Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, the total donations reportedly received by the seven national parties accounted for just Rs 89 lakh or 0.14 per cent in cash for the Financial Year 2014-15; rest were given in form of cheques or Demand Drafts or bank transfers. The data analysed by ADR and NEW is based on the donors’ list submitted by the parties to the Election Commission for donations exceeding Rs 20,000.

In FY 2015-16, national parties received Rs 1.45 crore in cash out of the total donations of Rs 102.02 crore. Congress received the maximum number of donations in cash, which was pegged at Rs 1.17 crore, followed by CPI (Rs 22.22 lakh) and BJP with Rs 51,000, the report stated. Surprisingly, four of the seven national parties did not declare PAN card details for donations totalling Rs 11.68 crore. The Congress collected Rs 8.11 crore, but did not disclose the PAN details of 318 donations. Similarly, the BJP failed to declare the PAN details of Rs 2.19 crore it collected from 79 donors. The Trinamool Congress, CPM and CPI failed to adhere to the format specified by the EC as they did not provide details of cheque numbers, DD and bank transfers.

A comparison between corporate and individual donors reveals that the BJP enjoys a strong backing from those in the business sector. Of the Rs 77.28 crore donated by corporates/business owners to national parties during FY 2015-16, BJP received Rs 67.99 crore. Congress came a distant second by declaring just 57 donations totalling Rs 8.83 crore from corporate/business sectors. However, there has been a decline in the total donations received by the BJP in 2015-16. Donations decreased by 82 per cent from Rs 437.35 crore during FY 2014-15 to Rs 76.85 crore during FY 2015-16. And the highest donor was Satya Electoral Trust that donated a total of Rs 47 crore to BJP and INC, making it one of the top 2 donors to the two parties. It donated Rs 45 crore to BJP (58.56 per cent of total funds received by the party) and Rs 2 crore to INC (9.79 per cent of total funds received by the party).

Key highlights

# In FY 2015-16, total donations declared by national parties was Rs 102.02 crore from 1,744 donors.
# In FY 2015-16, BJP got Rs 76.85 cr from 613 donations, Congress received Rs 20.42 cr from 918 donations.
# Donations received by BJP thrice the aggregate of INC, NCP, CPI, CPM, AITC.
# BSP did not receive anything above Rs 20,000 in FY 15-16, as was the case in last ten years.
# BJP donations decreased by 82 per cent from Rs 437.35 crore during FY 2014-15 to Rs 76.85 crore during FY 2015-16.
# In 2014, the EC said tax exemptions will be extended to donations made by cash.

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