The income from unknown sources refers to the funds declared in the Income Tax Returns without naming the source for donations below Rs 20,000.
An Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report has said that during fiscal 2018-19, BJP declared Rs 1,612.04 crore as income from unknown sources, which is 64% of the total income of t national parties from unknown sources (Rs 2,512.98 crore). “This income of BJP”, says the report, “Forms more than 1.5 times more the aggregate of income from unknown sources declared by the other five national parties (Rs 900.94 crore).
Based on income tax returns and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI), the ADR report says, as for the Congress, it declared Rs 728.88 crore as income from unknown sources, “which is 29% of the total income of national parties from the unknown sources.”
ADR says, “At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organizations giving less than Rs 20,000, nor those who donated via electoral bonds. As a result, more t
han 67% of the funds cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources.”
The ADR analysis further points out that out of Rs 2,512.98 crore as income from unknown sources, the share of income from electoral bonds was Rs 1,960.68 crore or 78% in 2018-19, adding, “Between FY 2004-05 and 2018-19, national parties have collected Rs 11,234.12 crore from unknown sources.”
Noting that “known sources have been defined as donations above Rs 20,000, whose donor details are available through contributions report as submitted by national parties to ECI”, the report says, “The unknown sources are income declared in the IT returns but without giving source of income for donations below Rs. 20,000.”
“Such unknown sources include ‘donations via electoral bonds’, ‘sale of coupons’, ‘relief fund’, ‘miscellaneous income’, ‘voluntary contributions’, ‘contribution from meetings/morchas’ etc. The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain”, ADR regrets.
The ADR analysis further finds that the declared income of the seven national parties – BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPM, CPI, Nationalist Congress Party and Bahujan Samaj Party – during 2018-19 came to Rs 3,749.37 crore. Of this, the total income of political parties from known donors came to Rs 951.66 crore, which is 25.38% of the total income of the parties.
Further, the total income of political parties from other known sources (e.g. sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.) came to Rs 284.73 crore, or 7.59% of the total income.