Millennium post
New Delhi
Where do the national political parties get their funds from? An analysis of their income tax returns and statements filed with the Election Commission shows that the sources remain largely unknown. At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations donating less than Rs 20,000. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organization, alleged on Friday that over 75 per cent of the funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources.
Founder member of ADR Prof. Trilochan Sastry said, ‘This becomes very relevant in the light of recent events when an attempt was made to bring national political parties under the Right to Information Act by a CIC ruling. There is an ongoing public debate on this issue. Unfortunately, full transparency is not possible under the current laws, and it is only the RTI that can keep citizens informed.’
Out of the total income of parties between 2004-05 to 2011-12 amounting to Rs 4,895 crore, as much as Rs 3,674 crore came from sources that are unknown, ADR said. The parties whose data was analysed included the Congress, the BJP, CPM, CPI and BSP.
‘Why can’t the public get to know about the funding of parties when this is the practice in many countries including smaller ones like Nepal and Bhutan in our neighbourhood,’ Sastry asked.
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