In the fiscal year 2021-22, the landscape of political party finances in India experienced noteworthy shifts, as mentioned in a comprehensive report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The report, released on Monday, disclosed that the total assets declared by the eight national parties reached Rs 8,829.15 crore, showcasing a substantial increase from the previous fiscal year’s Rs 7,297.61 crore.
Leading the pack in declared assets was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which reported assets amounting to Rs 6,046.81 crore during FY 2021-22. This depicted a significant rise from the previous fiscal year, where the BJP’s assets were recorded at Rs 4,990.19 crore, reflecting an increase of 21.17%. The report not only provided a snapshot of the financial health of the political parties but also presented a year-on-year comparison to underscore the shifts in their monetary dynamics.
Contrary to the overall trend of ascendant asset declarations, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), led by Mayawati, stood as the sole national party experiencing a decrease in its annual declared assets. The ADR report indicated a decline of 5.74%, with the BSP’s total assets dropping from Rs 732.79 crore in FY 2020-21 to Rs 690.71 crore in FY 2021-22.
In contrast, the Trinamool Congress exhibited remarkable growth in its assets during the same period. The ADR report highlighted a substantial increase from Rs 182.001 crore in FY 2020-21 to Rs 458.10 crore in FY 2021-22, translating to a notable surge of 151.70%. This surge underscored the dynamic nature of financial standings among political entities.
The report delved into the assets and liabilities of the eight national parties, namely BJP, Congress, NCP, BSP, CPI, CPI(M), AITC, and NPP, for both FY 2020-21 and 2021-22. It unveiled a nuanced picture of the financial evolution within these political entities.
Examining individual parties, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), led by Sharad Pawar, witnessed a substantial increase in its assets, soaring from Rs 30.93 crore in FY 2020-21 to Rs 74.54 crore in FY 2021-22. Similarly, the Communist Party of India (CPI) saw a rise from Rs 14.05 crore to Rs 15.72 crore, while the assets of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] increased from Rs 654.79 crore to Rs 735.77 crore during the same period.
The ADR report also scrutinized the liabilities of these political entities. It revealed that the total liabilities declared by the parties for FY 2020-21 amounted to Rs 103.55 crore. Congress led the chart in liabilities with Rs 71.58 crore, followed by CPI(M) with Rs 16.109 crore. However, in FY 2021-22, Congress still topped the liabilities chart, albeit with reduced liabilities of Rs 41.95 crore. CPI(M) and BJP followed with Rs 12.21 crore and Rs 5.17 crore in liabilities, respectively.
Interestingly, five parties declared a decrease in liabilities between FY 2020-21 and 2021-22. These parties included Congress, BJP, CPI(M), AITC, and NCP.
Beyond assets and liabilities, the report delved into the capital or reserve fund set aside by the national parties. It was disclosed that the total capital during FY 2020-21 was Rs 7,194.064 crore, surging to Rs 8,766.494 crore in FY 2021-22. The BJP emerged with the highest capital at Rs 6,041.64 crore, followed by Congress with Rs 763.73 crore and CPI(M) with Rs 723.56 crore.
However, the ADR report also pointed out a significant area of concern – the non-adherence of national parties to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) guidelines. These guidelines advocate for the disclosure of details regarding loans from financial institutions, banks, or agencies, terms of repayment, details of fixed assets received as donations, and specifics about loans given by the parties. The report lamented the lack of active compliance with these guidelines, emphasizing the need for enhanced transparency in the financial dealings of political entities. The ADR report not only offered a comprehensive overview of the financial status of national political parties in India but also shed light on areas that require attention, particularly in terms of adherence to guidelines promoting financial transparency and accountability.