In Charts: India Inc.’s Biggest Political Donors To Electoral Trusts In 2019-20
The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi is displayed on an Indian 2,000 rupee, top, and 500 rupee banknotes in an arranged photograph. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

In Charts: India Inc.’s Biggest Political Donors To Electoral Trusts In 2019-20

Political contributions made through electoral trusts rose to a record in 2019-20 with names from India Inc. like the JSW Group and Indiabulls Group leading the charts.

Contributions disclosed by seven electoral trusts in India rose to Rs 363.5 crore in 2019-20—a 44% increase over the previous year, an analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms showed. That’s the highest amount received by electoral trusts since 2013, when such non-profits were mandated to disclose donor details.

Electoral trusts are non-governmental organisations that are authorised to receive money from donors and disburse it among political parties. It’s one of the many tools that corporate India uses to make political donations. Apart from trusts, companies may also make direct contributions or through the opaque electoral bonds.

JSW Steel Ltd. was the biggest donor to electoral trusts, giving away Rs 39.1 crore. It was followed by Apollo Tyres Ltd. (Rs 30 crore), Indiabulls Infraestate Ltd. (Rs 25 crore), and Delhi International Airport Ltd. (Rs 25 crore). JSW Energy (Barmer) Ltd., also part of the JSW Group, donated Rs 15 crore.

Meanwhile, DLF Ltd. and DLF Home Developers Ltd. together donated a total of Rs 31 crore, according to the report.

That’s a change from 2018-19 when GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (Rs 25 crore), Ultratech Cement Ltd. (Rs 23 crore) and Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Rs 21.1 crore) were among the top donors.

Besides corporates, 18 individuals contributed about Rs 2.93 crore to electoral trusts in FY20.

Prudent Electoral Trust continued to corner bulk of the funds, receiving 75% of the total contributions. Formerly known as the Satya Electoral Trust, it has raised more than half of the total contributions made every year since 2013.

The Jankalyan Electoral Trust recieved a total of Rs 72 crore—three-fourths of which came from the JSW Group companies.

Large parts of Prudent’s contributions were diverted towards the Bharatiya Janata Party, which continued to get the most donations from such trusts.

BJP raised Rs 276.45 crore in 2019-20 from electoral trusts of which Rs 217 crore came from Prudent. The Indian National Congress received a total of Rs 58 crore while the Aam Aadmi Party got Rs 11.2 crore.

The BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of donations from electoral trusts since 2013.

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