Nearly 70 per cent of the income of political parties in India comes from unknown sources between 2004 and 2015. Among the national parties, the Congress tops the list with incomes with 83 per cent income from unknown sources, followed by the BJP with 65 per cent. Under the Income Tax Act, political parties do not have to pay tax provided they accept all donations above Rs. 20,000 in cheque. While they are required to keep details of donations below Rs. 20,000, it has been pointed out that the option of cash donations leaves room for turning black money to white.
Here are the 10 developments in the story:
  1. The Delhi-based think tank, Association for Democratic Reforms or ADR, said on an average, the parties receive 16 per cent of their income from known donors. Another 16 per cent is income from other sources, like sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications etc.
  2. Over the last 10 years, 83 per cent of Congress's income, amounting to Rs. 3,323.39 crore, and 65 per cent of BJP's income, amounting to Rs. 2,125.91 crore, came from unknown sources.
  3. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP is the only party which consistently declared receiving no donations above Rs. 20,000 in the decade. So 100 per cent of the party's income came from unknown sources, the report said.
  4. Next to BSP is the ruling Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh - 94 per cent of its income, amounting to Rs. 766.27 crore is from unknown sources. It is followed by Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, whose 86 per cent income (Rs. 88.06 crore) was from unknown sources.
  5. The report said over the last decade, the income of political parties has increased by a whopping 300-600 per cent.
  6. Between 2005 and 2015, political parties -- national and regional -- reported a total income of Rs. 11,367.34 crore.
  7. Jagdeep Chokhar of ADI said the political parties need to be brought under the ambit of RTI so their accounts are audited every year. While they are deemed to be under the RTI Act, the parties dispute the rule.
  8. In his New Year message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to all parties to clean up their funding.
  9. During demonetisation, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley said political parties were not allowed to accept donations in old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes after December 30.
  10. The report comes as five states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand -- are on the brink of assembly elections, which will begin next month.
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