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Out of Rs 951 cr voluntary contributions of above Rs 20k, BJP received Rs 698 cr: ADR

The ADR said that NCP received the maximum contributions worth Rs 5.65 crore from mining, construction, exports/imports companies.

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New Delhi: Five national political parties received Rs 951 crore through voluntary contributions of above Rs 20,000 out of which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received Rs 698 crore, a report said on Tuesday.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its podcast episode on analysis of donations from corporates and business houses to national political parties for financial year 2018-19 said, “Five national parties, comprising BJP, Congress, NCP, CPM and Trinamool Congress received a total of Rs 951.66 crore via voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 out of which 93 per cent or Rs 881.26 crore was from corporates or business houses.

It further said that donations from corporates to national parties increased by 133 per cent from the period between 2004-12 to 2018-19.

“BJP received the maximum corporate donations of Rs 698.14 crore, which forms 94 per cent of the total donations to the party above Rs 20,000 in 2018-19 followed by Congress which declared a donation of Rs 127.60 crore from various corporate and business houses,” it said.

The ADR pointed out that various sectors of business houses, in seven years between financial year 2012-13 and 2018-19, donated a total of Rs 2,823.21 crore or 91.62 per cent of the total contribution from known sources of political parties amounting to Rs 3,081.58 crore.

National parties have received the maximum corporate donations during 2018-19 (Rs 881.26 crore), followed by 2014-15 (Rs 573.18 crore) and 2016-17 (Rs 563.19 crore), it said.

Donations from corporates to National parties was lowest in 2015-16, where it reduced to Rs 76.94 crore, it said.

The ADR report also highlighted that between 2012-13 and 2018-19, BJP received the maximum corporate donations of Rs 2,319.54 crore, constituting 16 per cent of the total corporate donations in the seven years.

The ADR report further stated that progressive electoral trust was the top donor to three of the National parties namely BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress in 2018-19. “The Trust donated a total of three times in one year, amounting to Rs 455.15 crore,” it said.

The ADR said that prudent electoral trust was the second highest corporate donor to BJP and Congress, donating 25 times, a total amount of Rs 106.25 crore.

The contributions from corporate/ business houses have been classified into 15 sectors/categories by ADR and does not form a part of the submission made by parties to ECI. These sectors include Electoral Trusts, Real Estate, Manufacturing, Trusts & Group of companies, Power & Oil, Mining, Construction, Exports/Imports among others.

The ADR said that in 2018-19, Electoral Trust donated the maximum amount of Rs 617.65 crore followed by Manufacturing sector, contributing a total of Rs 96.88 crore and Mining, Construction, Exports/Imports sector, contributing a total of Rs 64.61 crore to the five national parties.

“BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress received the maximum contributions from Electoral Trusts. BJP received the highest, Rs 471.785 crore, followed by Congress with Rs 98.88 crore and Trinamool Congress with Rs 42.98 crore,” it said.

The ADR said that NCP received the maximum contributions worth Rs 5.65 crore from mining, construction, exports/imports companies.

It also said that Rs 20.57 crore was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or those with no clarity regarding their nature of work.

The Mode of payment is either incomplete or undeclared in case for 204 donations through which National parties received a huge sum of Rs 556.49 crore, which forms 15 per cent of the total amount of donations received by corporate/business houses. “Hundred per cent of corporate donations to Trinamool Congress either have incomplete or undeclared mode of payment. This was also the case for the 2016-17 and 2017-18,” it said.

The report further highlighted that in a total of 631 donations declared by national parties, there is no information related to PAN or address or details of both PAN and address details. Such contributions amount to Rs 58.395 crore.

Donations or contributions are amounts contributed above Rs 20,000 to the political parties by individuals, companies, electoral trusts and unions/ associations. The details of donors such as Name, address, PAN number, Mode of payment and date of donation have to be shown by the political party in the ‘Donations report’ filed by the party to the Election Commission of India. According to the rules laid down by the Election Commission, Contribution Report containing details of the donors who donated above Rs 20,000 have to be made available with the ECI on an annual basis as prescribed under Section 29-C of the Representation of People’s Act in Form 24A.

Election

Bengal: Left, Congress leaders hold talks; to finalise candidates by Jan end

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Kolkata, Jan 18: Top leaders of the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress conducted a meeting here on Sunday to discuss the seat-sharing and other election-related strategies, leaders of both the parties said, adding that their candidates would be finalised by the end of this month.

However, both the Congress and Left leaders said that they would hold more such meetings this month to finalise the candidates’ list for the upcoming Assembly elections, expected to be held in April-May.

Both the party leaders would meet again on January 25 and 28 to settle the seat-sharing issue and other poll-related preparedness.

In 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls, the two parties had forged an alliance and won 76 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

Post meeting, Left Front Chairman and CPI-M politburo member Biman Bose said that their discussion with the Congress was cordial and fruitful.

“To defeat the communal force BJP and the fascist TMC (Trinamool Congress), the Congress-Left parties’ alliance is must. The alliance would definitely thrash the binary rule in Bengal,” the veteran Left leader told the media.

Bose said that leaders and workers of Left parties and Congress should fight against the BJP and the TMC with shoulder to shoulder.

Party sources said that the Congress wanted to contest in 130 seats but the Left leaders did not concede the demand.

Bengal Congress chief and the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Chowdhury said that the seat sharing with the Left parties would not be completed in a single meeting, however, the seat sharing process would be concluded within this month.

CPI-M state secretary Suryakanta Mishra, Congress leaders Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharjee were present at the meeting.The Left and Congress parties are likely to hold a mega joint rally in Kolkata soon to kick start their election campaign.

The all important elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May along with Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.In the 2016 West Bengal polls,

Trinamool had retained its majority and won 211 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party won three seats.

However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Left and Congress had fought separately with the Congress won two seats, the Left Front dominated by the CPI-M, which ruled Bengal for 34 years (1977-2011), drew a blank.

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Health

Congress alleges govt procuring Covid vaccine at inflated prices

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Congress on Sunday questioned the procurement of Covid vaccines, alleging that the government has procured the vaccines at inflated prices despite the manufacturers claiming they would supply the vaccines without seeking profit.

Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said, “Why should the Modi government pay Rs 95 per dose more to Bharat Biotech for a vaccine that has been developed with the expertise and experience of scientists of government-run ICMR and pay more for a vaccine that has only been tested on 755 individuals and is yet to be cleared after phase-3 trials?”

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

“Why is the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market?” he asked.

Surjewala said, “‘Covishield’ is an AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute is supplying this vaccine at Rs 200/dose to government. AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the vaccine at no profit while ‘Covaxin’, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is being supplied at Rs 295/dose. Admittedly, Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).”

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said stated that his company will sell Covishield for Rs 1,000 per dose in open market, that is Rs 2,000 for 2 doses required for every individual.

Surjewala said, “Why should export of vaccine be permitted without immunisation of India’s population? ‘Corona Vaccine For All’ should be the stated policy of Modi government.”

“However, the government’s approach on free vaccination or cost of vaccination, cost to exchequer, profit margins of companies, etc, for India’s 130 crore people is completely opaque and shrouded in secrecy,” he said.

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Politics

No one was consulted, govt must agree to start on ‘clean slate’: Chidambaram on farm laws impasse

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday hit out at the Centre over the impasse on the farm laws, alleging that no one was consulted for the legislations, and asserted that the only way out for the government was to agree to start on a clean slate.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: His remarks came a day after the Centre asked protesting farmers to form an informal group to prepare a concrete proposal about their objections and suggestions on the farm laws for further discussion at their next meeting on January 19 to end the long-running protest at various Delhi borders.

The protesting farmer unions, however, stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three legislations.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said that as expected, another round of talks between the farmers and government has failed.

The fault lies with the government because it will not agree to get rid of the disputed laws, the former Union minister said.

”RTI responses have exposed as a lie the government’s claim that there were extensive consultations before the Farm Laws Ordinances were promulgated. The truth is that no one was consulted. In particular, state governments were not consulted,” he alleged.

The only way out of the impasse is for the government to admit its mistake and agree to start on a clean slate, Chidambaram said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the ”mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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