Context: A recent report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) an Indian Non-governmental Organization (NGO) established in 1999 situated in New Delhi sheds.
Key Highlights of the ADR Report
The report analyzed political party donations from various sources: Electoral Bonds, corporate contributions, MP/MLA donations, meetings, morchas, and party units.
- Electoral Bond Donations: The highest donations from Electoral Bonds, amounting to ₹3,438.8237 crore, were received in 2019-20, the year of the general elections.
- In 2021-22, during which 11 Assembly elections took place, Electoral Bond donations worth ₹2,664.2725 crore were recorded.
- Distribution of Donations: Out of the total donations of ₹16,437.635 crore received by the 31 political parties analyzed, 55.90% came from Electoral Bonds, 28.07% from the corporate sector, and 16.03% from other sources.
- National Parties : National parties witnessed a significant surge in Electoral Bond donations, experiencing a 743% increase between FY 2017-18 and FY 2021-22.
- Corporate donations to national parties increased by 48% during the same period.
- Regional Parties: Regional parties also received a substantial proportion of their donations from Electoral Bonds.
- Donations by Specific Parties: The BJP, as the ruling party, received the highest donations among national political parties.
- More than 52% of the BJP’s total donations came from Electoral Bonds, totaling ₹5,271.9751 crore.
- The Congress secured the second-highest Electoral Bond donations, with ₹952.2955 crore, which accounted for 61.54% of its total donations.
- The Trinamool Congress received ₹767.8876 crore through Electoral Bonds, representing 93.27% of its total donations.
Why have they attracted criticism?
The electoral bonds scheme faces central criticism for failing to achieve its intended purpose:
- For example, critics argue that the anonymity of electoral bonds is only for the broader public and opposition parties.
- The sale of electoral bonds through a government-owned bank (SBI) raises concerns about government’s knowledge of funding sources for its opponents.
- This enables the government to potentially exploit big companies for funding or retaliate against non-supporters, creating an unfair advantage.
- Over 90% of electoral bonds were of Rs 1 crore denomination, reducing accessibility for common people.
- Moreover, before the electoral bonds scheme was announced, there was a cap on how much a company could donate to a political party: 7.5 per cent of the average net profits of a company in the preceding three years.
- Critics argue that the government’s amendment to the Companies Act removed funding limits, allowing unlimited corporate contributions.
FAQs Related with Electoral Bonds
Ques 1: What are electoral bonds?
Answer : Electoral bonds are financial instruments used for making donations to political parties in India.
Ques 2: How do electoral bonds work?
Answer : Individuals and corporates can purchase electoral bonds from authorized banks and donate them to political parties anonymously.
Ques 3:Why were electoral bonds introduced?
Answer : Electoral bonds were introduced to promote transparency in political funding and curb the use of black money in elections.
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