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BJP 'cornered' 54% of all-India parties' assets, followed by Congress 17%: ADR

By Our Representative 

Top advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms' (ADR's) analysis of assets and liabilities of seven national parties has suggested that the highest assets for the FY 2018-19 were declared by BJP, amounting to Rs 2,904.18 crore (54.29% of the total), followed by the Indian National Congress (INC), which declared assets worth Rs 928.84 crore (17.36%) and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) declared assets worth Rs 738 crore (13.80%).
The total assets declared by the seven national political parties during FY 2018-19 amounted to Rs 5,349.25 crore. The seven national political parties analysed are BJP, INC, INC, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), BSP, CPI, CPI-M and All-India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
As for the regional parties, ADR said, out of the total amount declared Rs 2023.71 crore in FY 2018-19, the highest share was that of the Samajwadi Party (SP) Rs 572.21 crore (28.28%), followed by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Rs 232.27 crore and AIADMK Rs 206.75 crore.
As for liabilities, analysed under two major heads – borrowings (from banks, overdraft facilities and sundry creditors), and other liabilities – ADR said, in FY 2018-19 the total liabilities declared by the seven national and 41 regional political parties amounted to Rs 213.231 crore.
Of this, it said, INC declared the highest total liabilities worth Rs 78.42 crore (58.75%), followed by BJP that declared Rs 37.46 crore (28.06%). As for regional political parties, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) declared the highest total liabilities of Rs 18.10 crore (22.7%) followed by Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) that declared Rs 18.01 crore (22.58%).
By having no provision to change auditors frequently, foreign companies might have a bird’s eye view of the parties’ internal accounting
Coming to capital/reserve funds declared by national and regional parties, ADR said, in FY 2018-19, these stood at Rs 5,215.77 crore and Rs 1,943.976 crore, respectively. Of this, BJP declared the highest capital of Rs 2,866.72 crore followed by Rs 850.42 crore of INC and Rs 735.77 crore of BSP, while the lowest capital was declared by CPI of Rs 24.87 crore followed by NCP of Rs 31.05 crore.
As for the regional parties, SP declared the highest capital of Rs 571.70 crore followed by Rs 223.85 crore of BJD and Rs 206.71 cr of AIADMK.
Taking strong exception to the manner in which the political parties’ accounts are audited, ADR said, Indian laws do not permit foreign auditing firms to operate directly in India but might have a tie-up with domestic auditing firms, which is “a worrisome factor if the domestic firm is auditing Indian parties’ accounts.”
“By having no provision to change auditors frequently, foreign companies might have a bird’s eye view of the parties’ internal accounting”, it said, adding, “The accounts of political parties should be audited by a qualified and practicing Chartered Accountant from a panel of such accountants maintained for the purpose by the Comptroller and Auditor General. This differs from the current practice where political parties choose their auditors entirely on their own.”
“As the income-expenditure statements of political parties are assessed rarely, authenticity of the accounts submitted remains doubtful. When the authenticity is not verified, the auditors who might be under-reporting the accounts, remain out of purview of punishment”, ADR underlined. 
It added, “With online submission of IT returns, political parties do not submit details of income, expenditure and assets and liabilities as attachments. Thus, the IT department too does not have enough information on the finances of political parties. Annual scrutiny of documents submitted by political parties is recommended.”

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