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  1. Andhra Pradesh got over Rs 129 cr as donations after cyclone Hudhud VISAKHAPATNAM: Answering an RTI query, the Andhra Pradesh government has revealed that the Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF) received Rs 129.79 crore by way of donations after Cyclone Hudhud hit the city on October 12 last year. However, it has refused to divulge the identities of the donors, as was requested by K Dali Naidu, a resident of the city. This is in sharp contrast to the Odisha government, which had put up details of the donors and amount collected on its website soon after Cyclone Phailin. Replying to the RTI query, the assistant secretary to government and public relations officer, revenue (CMRF) department, AP secretariat, said that the government received donations worth Rs 129,79,10,000 as on January 19, 2015. "Nearly 6,000 donors have donated to the CMRF in respect of Hudhud cyclone," the reply further stated. To the question "How much amount (was) received from private companiescentral public sector undertakingsstate government public undertakingssocieties after the incident occurred?", the department said, "Providing information in respect of details of donors is under examination." The RTI applicant, however, feels that by not providing information on the donors, the government has put a big question mark on transparency. "The basic reason for filing the application was to know who contributed to the fund.After the cyclone, a lot of people announced that they are going to donate to the CM's Relief Fund. I just wanted to check if all those who made big promises in front of the media actually donated," said Dali Naidu, who is secretary of the Vistarana Mass Communication Society. "There is no confidential disclosure involved in this. Now a days, a lot of people write cheques in front of the media and after that throw it in the dustbin. Who is keeping track of that? I wanted to know who are the people really concerned about our city," he added. Pointing out that there is no reason for the government to withhold the information or delay providing the list of donors, he said, "If you take the instance of the Odisha government, they set up a website listing the name of each donor along with the donation amount immediately after Cyclone Phailin. This is very transparent and gives a clear picture to the public about the donors. Even they (donors) feel happy that their contribution has been recognised." Naidu said his next step will be to ask the state government as to how it intends to use the donations for the benefit of the city."Since it is for the city, we should keep an eye so that the money is not diverted or misused by some vested interests," he added. Read More: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Andhra-Pradesh-got-over-Rs-129-cr-as-donations-after-cyclone-Hudhud/articleshow/46049416.cms
  2. As reported at siliconindia.com on 20 February 2010 ew Delhi: Eveyone is aware of the fact that Congress party has outrun every competitor to the winner's post in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but vet few people knows that the same party has also outstripped all other parties in the spending stakes. Sonia Gandhi led Congress party invested Rs.380 crore, a three-fold jump from 2004, for the elections that returned the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to power. Its rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is among at least 19 political parties with representatives in the Lok Sabha to have not yet filed their expenditure statements with the election commission (EC). Talking to DNA, SK Mendiratta, Legal Counsel, Election Commission of India said, "The EC has issued the parties - warning letters and given them a last chance to file their expenditure statements." It was mandatory for all the political parties to file the details of expenses incurred by them within three months of the general elections, according to a timeline set by the EC. Al these details are found after DNA filed an RTI application to know the amount of money spent in election by all the parties. Source: Congress spends Rs.380 Crore to win '09 Lok Sabha election - SiliconIndia
  3. As reported by Bibek Debroy at www.indianexpress.com on 30 march 2009 New Delhi : The UTVI channel has used the RTI Act to collect data on income tax returns filed by political parties. The figures are sometimes for 2007-08, sometimes for 2008-09. So we know, the largest donors have been Aditya Birla group, Torrent Power, Videocon, Salgaonkar, Dempo, Chowgule, Charitable Trust, Jubilant Enpro, Kamaljit Singh Ahluwalia, Timblo, Prime Builders and Developers, Honda Siel, Trans Indian Freight Services and United Phosphorus. Why shouldn’t corporate India donate to political parties for the democratic cause? I am told some corporate boards insist donations should be evenly spread out, not necessarily equally, but perhaps in some proportion to seats in Parliament. But that’s not what this list shows. Aditya Birla prefers Congress, Kamaljit Singh Ahluwalia prefers BJP and Honda Siel prefers Samajwadi Party. Are these donations altruistic, because one subscribes to ideologies of concerned political parties, or is there some quid pro quo? The quid pro quo needn’t be immediate and can also be negative, in the sense that there is plenty of arm-twisting any government can do. How else does one explain the phenomenon of the donation cup flowing over whenever a party is in power, at the Centre or the in States? Rather interestingly, this also applies to the CPM. Even more intriguingly, STC and MMTC donate to the Congress. Apparently, the law doesn’t prohibit it, provided not more than 5% of profits are donated. However, PSUs subscribing to a particular political party’s ideology suggests one should read between the lines. Clearly, the income, assets and expenditure figures are ridiculous. The figures are probably no more than 10% of right numbers. Otherwise, the 2009 Lok Sabha elections would be impossible, though large chunks of expenditure are borne by individual candidates. However, there is a point beyond questions of electoral reform and removing unrealistic caps on election expenditure. Civil society is increasingly focused on individual candidates, including their criminal antecedents and financial assets, thanks partly to the Election Commission. By contrast, we don’t seem to pay much attention to political parties -- like insisting, for example, that their accounts be audited. Political parties freely run newspapers and TV channels and indulge in other activities on a commercial basis. And rather oddly, one of the longest Constitutions anywhere in the world doesn’t say anything about political parties. The Representation of the People Act can surely be used to impart greater transparency and accountability. If simultaneously, we remove unrealistic caps on electoral expenditure and eliminate discretion in policy-making (such as land), we will ensure that donations and expenditure flow through monetized and legitimate channels. Case-by-case discretion leads to suitcase-by-suitcase flows. Source: Time we looked at the funds of political parties
  4. As reported by Aditya Kaul in dnaindia.com on 05 March 2009: DNA: India: BJP, Congress hog big biz funds BJP, Congress hog big biz funds Whose cash are the major political parties banking on this time? A good part of election financing is obviously done with black money, but a close look at formal business funding in the recent past offers enough clues on who's bankrolling whom. Quite clearly, businessmen have their favourites, but many others tend to back all major parties even-handedly. Else, they offer donations based on the popular votes/seats received by each major party at the last elections. The Congress' big backers are the Aditya Birla group and the Tatas, while the BJP received substantial funding from the Sterlite group of Anil Agarwal and the Gujarat-based Adanis. The Dhoots of Videocon backed both the major parties and also the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Using the Right to Information Act extensively, DNA obtained the officially declared contribution figures of various political parties between 2003 and 2007. Since disclosures are voluntary, the figures are only indicative, and may also hide more than they reveal. Thus, there is little data on Mayawati's BSP, which did not submit any declaration to the Election Commission. Missing from the declarations are the contributions of the Ambani brothers. While Mukesh has access to the highest levels in the Congress, Anil Ambani is close to the Samajwadi Party's Amar Singh. The Congress and the BJP hogged the lion's share of the booty during 2003-07 -- almost identical amounts of Rs 52.42 crore and Rs 52.93 crore. No business house obviously wants to fall foul of the two principal nodes of Indian politics, whether they are in power or on the sidelines. But given the growth in coalitions, the smaller parties aren't doing too badly either. Adani contribution of Rs4 crore to BJP underscores proximity to Modi Small parties, big bucks Smaller regional parties haven't done too badly either in the queue for formal business funding. The Shiv Sena (Rs 4.17 crore), the SP (Rs 2.45 crore), the TDP (Rs 2.25 crore) and health minister Anbumani Ramadoss' PMK (Rs 2.86 crore) were key beneficiaries during this period. The Aditya Birla group headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla emerges as the country's biggest donor, having made total donations to the tune of Rs 24.67 crore. The bulk of it went to the Congress party -- Rs 21.71 crore. The BJP got all of Rs 2.96 crore. The Birla General Electoral Trust made donations only to these two major political parties. The BJP's political interests, on the other hand, were strongly supported by the Public and Political Awareness Trust based in Silvassa. It received Rs 9.5 crore between 2003 and 2007 from this trust, which, in turn, received most of its funds from the Sterlite group of Anil Agarwal. In 2000, 51% of public sector unit Balco was sold to the Sterlite group by the then NDA government. Separately, Sterlite Industries donated Rs 1 crore to the Congress and another Rs 50 lakh to the BJP. The Venugopal Dhoot-led Videocon consumer durables group gave more than Rs 10 crore to three major parties - the BJP, Congress and Shiv Sena. Of this, Rs 4.5 crore went to the Congress and Rs 3.5 crore to BJP. The Sena got a generous Rs 2.63 crore. Not surprising, since Dhoot's brother Raj Kumar is in the Rajya Sabha, courtesy Shiv Sena. The Tatas are not far behind. They have donated Rs 4.32 crore to the Congress and another Rs 2.67 crore to the BJP. The Shiv Sena got Rs 60.94 lakh and the Telugu Desam (TDP) Rs 48.48 lakh. These donations were made through Electoral Trust, which was set up before the 1999 general elections for encouraging transparent political funding. The Gujarat-based Adani group, which is into commodities trading, edible oil, infrastructure and private port operations, was the biggest benefactor of the BJP. Gautam Adani's proximity to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, often seen using the former's private planes, brought the BJP Rs 4 crore. The Congress got only Rs 20 lakh. The professionally-managed ITC has scattered its largesse far and wide as it donates money on the basis of the parliamentary representation of each political party. The company gave Rs 1.45 crore to the Congress, Rs 1.38 crore to the BJP, Rs 36 lakh to the Samajwadi Party, Rs 12 lakh to the Shiv Sena, Rs 14.5 lakh to the TDP, Rs 8 lakh to Janata Dal (U) and even Rs 5 lakh to the AIADMK. Engineering giant Larsen & Toubro has given Rs 1.6 crore to BJP, Rs 1 crore to Congress and another Rs 35 lakh to the Shiv Sena. The Mahindra group has distributed Rs 2.2 crore between the Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena and TDP. The Bajaj group has given Rs 1 crore each to Congress and BJP. Naveen Jindal, who was elected to the current Lok Sabha on a Congress ticket, has donated a sum of Rs 1 crore to the Congress. Interestingly, he has also donated Rs 75 lakh to his party's main rival, the BJP. The GMR group, which bagged major contracts for airport development across the country, donated Rs 1 crore to the BJP and Rs 25 lakh to the Congress through GMR Power Corporation and its promoters. Vijay Mallya's Shaw Wallace group, acquired in June, 2005, donated a sum of Rs 1 crore to the BJP in 2004-05. There are several other notable names in the list. Pharma firm Ranbaxy donated Rs 95 lakh - Rs 65 lakh to the Congress, Rs 25 lakh to BJP and another Rs 5 lakh to TDP. The LM Thapar group donated Rs 70 lakh to the Congress and BJP. The Umesh Modi group gave Rs 50 lakh to the BJP and Rs 25 lakh to the Congress Among lesser-known financiers are Akik Education Centre, based in Delhi's Shahdara area at Baldev Park. Akik poured Rs 1.5 crore into the BJP's coffers. There is a three-storey building at the given address but DNA did not find any educational institute. Ahmedabad-based Nima Specific Family Trust gave Rs 1 crore to the BJP and Rs 30 lakh to the Congress. Real estate groups - often operating at the edge of the law - also found a place among the formal donors to the major parties. The Ambience Group, led by Raj Singh Gehlot, which is into the construction of malls and luxury apartments, donated Rs 1.05 crore to the Congress from its Green Park Extension office. Another builder based in the capital, Somdutt Builders, gave Rs 75 lakh to the BJP. Punj Lloyd, an engineering, construction and project management firm, doled out Rs 1 crore to the BJP while real estate developer Today House & Infrastructures donated Rs 55 lakh to the Congress. The Jubilant group, which is into hyper and supermarket development, and real estate association Creda handed over Rs 50 lakh and Rs 47 lakh to BJP. Sanskriti Developers dished out Rs 50 lakh to the Congress and Rs 15 lakh to the Shiv Sena. Quite clearly, from obscure trusts to famous industrial houses, all of them have contributed to keep the wheels of political parties greased.
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