With a declared income of Rs 1034.27 crore, the ruling party BJP is the richest political party among seven national parties during the financial year (FY) 2016-2017, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) which analysed IT returns and audit reports filed by political parties with the Election Commission. This forms about 66.34 percent of the total income of all the seven national parties added together (Rs 1559.17 Crore).

Congress (INC) has shown the second highest income, Rs 225.36 Crore, which is only 21 percent as compared to that of the saffron party, followed by BSP – Rs 173.58 Crore, CPI(M) – Rs 100.25 Crore, NCP – Rs 17.23 Crore, AITC (Trinamool Congress) – Rs 6.39 Crore and CPI – Rs 2.07 Crore.

While these figures do indicate the scale and nature of funds generated by political parties, it is common knowledge that most parties receive much more funds (or help in kind) than reflected in these official documents.

Compared to the previous financial year 2015 -2016, while the income of BJP has increased by 81 percent, which is about Rs 463.41 Crore, the income of Congress has decreased by 14 percent, which is Rs 32.6 Crores.

During FY 2016-2017, the seven national parties have collected maximum 74.98 percent (Rs 1,169.07 Crore) income from ‘voluntary contributions’, followed by Rs 128.60 Crore income from ‘interest from Banks fixed deposits’ and 7.98 percent (Rs 124.4 Crore) was income generated through ‘revenue from issuance of coupons’.

 BJP and Congress have declared donations or contributions as one of their three main sources of income which is Rs 997.12 Crore and Rs 50.626 Crore respectively, during FY 2016-2017.

BJP declared an expenditure of Rs 710.05 Crore of which the maximum spending was towards election or general propaganda which amounted to Rs 606.64 Crore followed by expenses towards administrative cost, Rs 67.78 Crore.

Congress, with an expenditure of Rs 321. 6 Crore, exceeded its income, spending the maximum of Rs 149.65 Crore on election expenditure followed by expenditure of Rs 115.65 Crore on administrative and general expenses.

The total expenditure declared by the remaining national parties are; BSP – Rs 51.83 Crore, CPI(M) – Rs 94.05 Crore, NCP – Rs 24.9 Crore, AITC – Rs 24.26 Crore and CPI – 1.4 Crore.

The report observed that four out of seven National Parties (BJP, INC, NCP and CPI) have consistently delayed submitting their audit reports for past five years. The ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress, have delayed submitting their audit reports by an average of almost 6 months.

The total income of the seven national parties has increased by 51 percent, (i.e. by Rs 525.9 Crore) from Rs 1,033.18 Crore during FY- 2015-2016 to Rs 1,559.17 Crore during FY- 2016-2017.

The comprehensive analysis of the income and expenditure of the national parties during FY 2016-2017 by ADR is here .

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