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Eight national parties' assets reach Rs 8,829.16 crore in 2021-22, but transparency regarding financial details remains deficient, reports ADR.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an organization advocating for electoral reforms, has revealed that the cumulative assets declared by eight national parties for the fiscal year 2021-22 amounted to Rs 8,829.16 crore. This figure reflects an increase from the Rs 7,297.62 crore reported in 2020-21. However, despite the growth in assets, transparency regarding financial information remains limited, according to the ADR’s report.

The national parties analyzed in the report include BJP, INC, NCP, BSP, CPI, CPI(M), AITC, and NPEP. Comparing the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22, it is noteworthy that the BJP declared assets worth Rs 6,046.81 crore, indicating a rise of 21.17%. Similarly, the Congress’s assets increased by 16.58%, reaching Rs 805.68 crore in 2021-22, up from Rs 691.11 crore in the previous year.

Despite the overall upward trend, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) witnessed a decrease in its declared assets. The party’s assets dropped by 5.74% from Rs 732.79 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 690.71 crore in 2021-22. In contrast, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) experienced a substantial asset surge of 151.70%, with assets increasing from Rs 182.001 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 458.10 crore.

Regarding liabilities, the national parties declared total liabilities of Rs 103.55 crore for the fiscal year 2020-21. The Congress topped the list with liabilities amounting to Rs 71.58 crore, followed by CPI(M) with Rs 16.109 crore. For the subsequent fiscal year, the Congress again ranked highest in liabilities, with Rs 41.95 crore, followed by CPI(M) and BJP, which declared liabilities of Rs 12.21 crore and Rs 5.17 crore, respectively.

While some parties exhibited a decrease in liabilities from 2020-21 to 2021-22, the national parties as a whole failed to adhere to guidelines from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). These guidelines call for parties to disclose details of financial institutions, banks, or agencies from which loans were obtained, and to specify the terms of repayment. Furthermore, details of loans given in cash or kind, constituting more than 10% of total loans, should be disclosed, a requirement unmet by the parties.

The ADR emphasized that transparency remains lacking, as the political parties have not actively embraced the ICAI guidelines endorsed by the Election Commission of India. While the assets of national parties show an upward trend, their commitment to financial transparency is a subject of ongoing concern.

Despite the increase in assets reported by national parties for the fiscal year 2021-22, transparency in financial disclosures remains inadequate. The ADR’s report underscores the importance of adhering to guidelines set by relevant institutions to enhance accountability and promote transparency in the financial affairs of political parties.

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