Consistent Writing on Transparency in Public Administration

Kenkatesh Mayak Has written consistently on Transparency and Right to Information. Venkatesh Nayak | Deccan Herald
His latest… my struggle to get information about the number of donors (mind you, the number, not their names) who fund political parties and claim 100 per cent income tax exemption in return (DH 26/02/2023). The Income Tax (I-T) Department had sent stock replies twice claiming that such information cannot be retrieved from the fully automated income tax returns (ITR) filing system. Yet… the I-T Department used data analytics to put on notice 8,000 taxpayers who had made large donations to charitable trusts between 2017 and 2021. These contributions, allegedly, were not in line with their declared income.
the I-T Department has taken information denial under the RTI Act to another plane. When questioned about the methodology adopted to calculate the amount of revenue foregone because of tax exemptions claimed by individuals and corporates for their political party donations, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) replied that such information was in (sarkari) files connected with budgetary processes


While introducing the concept of EBs, in his February 2017 Budget speech in Parliament, the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that donors were reluctant to use transparent methods, like cheques, to contribute to political parties, fearing reprisals from rival parties. Further, election and tax laws were amended that year to absolve recipient political parties of the duty to report the identity of an EB donor to the ECI and the income tax authorities. The law regulating companies was also amended to remove the cap on corporate donations to political parties and do away with the duty to record details of such contributions in their balance sheets. Clearly, there was no need for EBs at all after these amendments, if the repeated justification from the finance ministry is to hold true.

Read more at: Will the votaries of secret political donations reveal? | Deccan Herald

As per the ADR report in news the information is BJP received more than 600 crores in year 2021-22. While Congress received 94 crores. however, there is not a clear line to say who donated whom, as some corporates donate both the political parties. The donations also indicate for whom they will be working when they come to power.

I really don’t find it surprising that information is kept secret or there are provisions in RTI Act itself that restrict this information to public. It only shows what is the characteristics of these governments who take donations from big businesses.