Corporate and business houses donated ₹876.10 crore to five national parties in 2018-19. The biggest share of over ₹698 crore went to BJP, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Such donations amounted to 92% of the contributions to political parties from known sources and it increased by 131% between 2004-12 to 2018-19. The parties considered in the report are the BJP, the Congress, the NCP, the CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress.

Though a national party, the BSP has not been considered as it has declared that it received no voluntary contributions above ₹20,000 since 2004. The CPI did not declare any income from corporates for 2018-19.

The BJP received ₹698.08 crore from 1,573 corporate donors, followed by the Congress with ₹122.5 crore from 122 donors while the NCP got ₹11.34 crore from 17 donors. Voluntary contributions of the BJP and the Congress, above ₹20,000, from corporate and business houses were 94% and 82% respectively.

The national parties received the highest amount in 2018-19 (the period which preceded the Lok Sabha elections), followed by ₹573.18 crore in 2014-15 (during which the 16th Lok Sabha elections were held) and ₹563.19 crore in 2016-17.

Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, donations from corporates to national parties increased by 968%, with a drop in the percentage in 2015-16.

The Progressive Electoral Trust was the top donor to the BJP, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress in 2018-19. It donated three times in a single year to the three parties, amounting to ₹455.15 crore. The BJP declared receipt of ₹356.53 crore while the Congress and the Trinamool Congress received about ₹55.63 crore and ₹42.99 crore. The B.G. Shirke Construction Technology Private Limited was the top donor to the NCP.

15 categories identified

The ADR report identifies 15 categories of corporate donors. Of the contribution to the five national parties, ₹20.54 crore was from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or whose nature of work is unclear. While electoral trusts were the biggest donors, with a share of 69.93%, manufacturing sector was the second highest with the contribution of ₹96.85 crore.

The BJP, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress received the highest contributions from the electoral trusts. The BJP received ₹471.78 crore, followed by the Congress with ₹93.88 crore and the TMC with ₹42.986 crore.

Of the donations through which national parties received ₹31.42 crore, 319 do not have address details. They received ₹13.57 crore from 34 donations which do not have PAN details, while 99.75% of such donations without PAN and address details, worth ₹13.36 crore, belong to the BJP.

The five national parties reported 341 donations amounting to ₹20.54 crore from corporate entities which have zero Internet presence or, if they do, there is ambiguity about the nature of their work. Contact and address details of most of these companies were unavailable in cases where they were visible online.

The ADR has recommended that no part of the Form 24A, submitted by the parties to provide details of donations above ₹20,000, should be left blank. All such donors should provide PAN details. Any party which does not submit its donation statement to the EC on or before October 31 should be heavily penalised and its income should not be tax-exempted.

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