Representational image. Image Courtesy: The Indian Express
New Delhi: As has been the trend, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the biggest beneficiary of funds from Electoral Trusts in 2018-19, accumulating Rs 100.25 crore during the year. The total amount of money disbursed to political parties by electoral trusts stood at Rs 251.554 crore in 2018-19, according to data from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The BJP got 39.85% of the total pie in 2018-19, with the maximum donation coming courtesy the Prudent Electoral Trust at Rs 67.25 crore. The party also received Rs 28 crore from the AB General Electoral Trust and Rs 2.5 crore from the New Democratic Electoral Trust.
In 2018-19, five electoral trusts received “Rs 252.0065 crore from corporates and individuals and distributed Rs 251.554 crore (99.82%),” the ADR report says.
According to rules formulated by the Centre, the trusts have to distribute at least 95% of the contributions they receive in a financial year along with the surplus from the previous year to political parties before March 31, of the financial year.
Among corporates and individuals, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. was the highest contributor to electoral trusts at Rs 25 crore, followed by Ultratech Cement Ltd. at Rs 23 crore and Bharti Airtel Ltd. at Rs 21.174 crore.
The trusts contributed to various political parties. “Top 10 donors have donated Rs 161.42 crore to Electoral Trusts, which forms 64 percent of the total donations received by the Trusts during FY 2018-19,” the ADR report says.
Aside from the BJP, five political parties including Congress, Biju Janata Dal, YSR-Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Telangana Rashtra Samithi received a total of Rs 140.50 crore from trusts during 2018-19.
Prudent Electoral Trust, which donated the highest amount to BJP gave away Rs 182.304 crore to 11 political parties, in all. It is followed by AB General Electoral Trust, which made contributions to four parties amounting to Rs 57.25 crore.
The ADR analysed audit reports which have been filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) by the electoral trusts. Out of the 21 total trusts registered with the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the contribution reports of six are not available on the ECI’s website. Ten trusts have said that they have received no donations in 2018-19.