There is little doubt the 2019 elections will be the world’s most expensive.
There is little doubt the 2019 elections will be the world’s most expensive.(Photo: Harsh Sahani/The Quint)
  • 1. What Are The Various Avenues To Collect Funds From?
  • 2. What Are the Modes of Raising Resources?
  • 3. What Are Electoral Bonds?
  • 4. How Rich Are Political Parties?
  • 5. Where Is All This Money Spent?
2019 Polls to Be World’s Most Expensive: How Parties Raise Money

Did you know that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections could be the most expensive election ever held in any democratic nation in the world?

US-based expert Milan Vaishnav told PTI that the 2019 elections could not only exceed the $5 billion spent during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, but also surpass the amount spent during the US presidential and congressional elections in 2016.

  • 1. What Are The Various Avenues To Collect Funds From?

    In India, parties largely gather funding from two sources – individual donations and corporate funding.

    CORPORATE FUNDING

    According to the ADR report, the corporate sector donated Rs 422 crore to national parties between 2017 and 2018. That was 89.82 percent of total donations raised that financial year.

    While the BJP accounted for Rs 400 crore of all corporate donations, the Congress received Rs 19 crore from corporate firms.

    Prudent Electoral Trust, an electoral trust reportedly run and promoted by Bharti Enterprises, was the top donor of the BJP. It gave Rs 154 crore to the party. This is followed by the Ab General Electoral Trust, with Rs 12.5 crore donation.

    Other donors of the BJP included Cadila Healthcare at Rs 10 crore, Cipla Ltd at Rs 9 crore, USV Pvt Ltd at Rs 9 crore, Micro Labs Ltd at Rs 9 crore, M/S Pragathi Groups at Rs 8.75 crore, Rare Enterprises at Rs 8 crore, Mahaveer Medicare at Rs 6 crore and Alembic Pharmaceuticals at Rs 6 crore.

    Prudent Electoral Trust was the top donor for the Congress, too, at Rs 10 crore. They were followed by Cadila Healthcare Ltd at Rs 2 crore and Ab General Electoral Trust, Bharatiya Socialist Republican Electoral Trust, Nirma Ltd and Triumph Electoral Trust, all of which contributed Rs 1 crore each.

    Loopholes In Corporate Funding

    Recently, the government amended the Finance Bill to remove two conditions stipulated for corporates funding political parties.

    • The cap on corporate contributions, which previously stood at 7.5 percent of a corporation’s average net profits over the previous three years, has now been eliminated.
    • The provision that firms must declare their political contributions on their profit and loss statements has been abolished.

    Experts find these amendments problematic.

    “The cap of 7.5 percent on corporate donations has been removed. Now, a company can exist to run political parties – 100 percent profits can go there. This is crony capitalism, fully legalised and institutionalised. Political donations made through electoral bonds need not be declared to the Election Commission.”
    SY Quraishi, former chief election commissioner

    INDIVIDUAL FUNDING

    About 10 percent of total donations made to parties in 2017-18 were received from individual contributors, according to the ADR report. At least 2,772 individual donors donated Rs 47 crore.

    Also Read : FinMin Wing & EC Agree On Opaque Political Funding, But No Action

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