BJP rakes in corporate donations
When it comes to donations from businesses towards political parties, BJP leaves its competitors in the dust, being the largest recipient of such funds in the last seven years.
The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a report detailing the flow of funds between corporations and business houses in the country to major political parties. The study was based on the figures released by the Election Commission of India which collects details, including PAN, of corporate donations above Rs 20,000. The parties considered for the study were the BJP, INC, NCP, CPM and AITC.
The report shows that in the year 2018-19, preceding the Lok Sabha elections, Rs 876 crores was donated by businesses to these five parties, making up 92% of the total funds they received. The lion’s share of Rs 698 crores went to the BJP, with the Congress coming in at a distant second with Rs 122 crores. Donations from corporates to national parties increased by 107% between 2017-18 and 2018-19. Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the donations raised by a staggering 968% and BJP received 82% of this.
Progressive Electoral Trust, which is backed by the Tata Group, was the top donor to three of the National parties namely BJP, INC & AITC in 2018-19. The Trust donated three times in a single year to the three parties each, amounting to a total of Rs 455 crores. Prudent Electoral Trust came in second with 102 crores. Other major donors include AB General Electoral Trust, BG Shirke Construction Technology and Modern Road Makers.
The contributions from corporate/business houses have been divided into 15 sectors/categories by ADR including Trusts & Group of companies; Manufacturing; Power & Oil; Mining, Construction, Exports/Imports; and Real Estate among others. The manufacturing sector was the second-highest overall contributor after electoral trusts.
Out of the total of Rs 876.10 crores donated by the corporate/ business houses to the five national parties in 2018-19, Rs 20.54 crores was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies whose nature of work remains unclear and they have no details available online. A total of Rs 13.364 crores was collected by the national parties from 274 corporate donors without obtaining their PAN and address details. Such incomplete contributions reports must be returned to the parties by the ECI, to deter them from providing incomplete information, according to recommendations made by ADR.