Who pays for elections? We Share the Brunt! Election Watch NGO Report

The ruling BJP received a whopping Rs 705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors between financial years 2012-13 and 2015-16, a report by election watch body Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed today. In all, Rs 956.77 crore was donated by all corporate/business houses to five national parties during that period, the report said. While the BJP was the highest recipient, the Congress was a distant second with Rs 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors, it added. The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) received the lowest share of corporate donations at 4 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, said the report which considered the BJP, Congress, CPM, CPI and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), though a recognised national party, was not considered for analysis in the report as “the party has declared that it received no voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 from any donor between FY 2012-13 and FY 2015-16”. The report also disclosed that 1,933 donations through which national parties received Rs 384.04 crore do not have PAN details in the contribution form. Also, the parties have received Rs 355.08 crore from 1,546 donations which do not have address details in the contribution form. Interestingly, 99 per cent of such donations (without PAN and address details) worth Rs 159.59 crore went to the BJP. — IANS In others’ kitty

  • Of Rs 956.77 crore donated by corporate/business houses to five national parties, the Congress stood second with Rs 198.16 crore after the BJP
  • The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) received 17 per cent of the corporate donations
  • The Communist Party of India (CPI) got 4 per cent of the corporate donations pie

Recommendations of ADR

  1. The Supreme Court gave a judgment on 13-09-2013, declaring that no part of a candidate affidavit should be left blank. Similarly, no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000, should be blank.
  2. All donors who have donated a minimum of Rs 20,000 as a single or multiple donations should provide their PAN details.
  3. Date on which the donation was made should be recorded by the party and submitted in Form 24A.
  4. Any party which does not submit its donation statement to the ECI on or before 31st Oct should be heavily penalized and its income should not be tax-exempted.
  5. A total of Rs 159.67 cr was collected by the National Parties from 1062 corporate donors without obtaining their PAN and Address details. Such incomplete contributions reports must be returned to the parties by the ECI, to deter them from providing incomplete information.
  6. Corporates should make details of their political contributions available in public domain through their websites (in annual reports or in a dedicated page) for increasing transparency in political financing.
  7. Annual scrutiny of donations reports of National, Regional and unrecognized parties should be initiated by a dedicated department of the CBDT, to discourage donations from shell companies or illegal entities.

Disha NGO celebrates I Day with slum children

Disha – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development, an NGO based at Chandigarh celebrated Independence Day with slum children. Disha NGO is running an Empowerment Centre for such children, specially girls, to prepare them for admission to regular schools. Disha persuades the parents of these girls to spare them some time, each day, from looking after younger siblings and household chores – to attend Disha Centre, for all round education.

Disha has already succeeded in admitting several girls to the local school after helping them in preparing documentation like affidavits and Aadhaar, etc

Bardoli Welfare Society Organising Women for Income Generation

Located in katni, Madhya Pradesh, Bardoli welfare society, an Ngo under the leadership of Sh R.L Choudhary, is organising the rural women in different villages under the savatri bai program. The ngo is arranging for the capacity building and still development of women in various vocations, to generate supplementary income for the rural families. The ngo is creating a network of self help groups in and around katni


All Womens’ Bank – An NGO start up at jhunjhunu

Within less than a year of starting production, Anandi — a sanitary pad brand – has become a household name among women of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.

A worker engaged in making sanitary pads at a all-woman unit in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.

What do you do when banks reject your application for loan?

Set up your own bank, like a group of women in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu did. And out of the novel idea was born a manufacturing unit for sanitary pads, bringing a hygienic practice among thousands of women in the district.

Within less than a year of starting production, Anandi — the sanitary pad brand – has become a household name among women of Jhunjhunu.

Much cheaper than the branded ones, the Anandi pads are also said to be as good in quality.

The product is manufactured by a group of ten village women in the district, and nearly 1000 pads are sold every day through a network of about 5000 women health and anganwadi workers.

Umed Bhalothia, the supervisor of the pad making unit, said the group of women were steeled by constant rejection by banks.

One of the women who went to banks, she said they wanted the money to set up small units of dairy, papad, spices, etc.

“The bankers would rebuke us and say, ‘Koi kaam nahin hai kya, roz aake baith jaate ho? Jao, parso aana’ (Don’t you have any work to do? You come and camp here every day. Go, come the day after tomorrow),” Bhalothia replied.

It was in 2014, she added, an official of the government’s women empowerment department (WED) suggested setting up their own bank.

The first collection in the bank, known as Amrita Multipurpose Primary Cooperative Society, was a modest sum of Rs 1,100. Today, the bank has Rs 4.56 crore in its coffers while another Rs 3.8 crore has been loaned to its women members, according to Viplav Neola, assistant director, WED.

The cooperative bank, which has some 15,000 women as members, gives loans to women at an interest rate of 8.25% and also provides insurance schemes to its customers.

It was in mid-2016 that the idea for the sanitary pad making unit was floated, again by the WED official, to provide employment to women as well as generate some profits. He, along with a few women visited places in Rajasthan, and also travelled to Mumbai , to learn about the pad making process, says Bhalothia.

The unit was established in Jhunjhunu by the end of 2016 at a cost of about Rs 22 lakh. It had two big machines to seal and deliver the finish product, while other smaller machines to grind the wood pulp, iron the mash, and one to gum the product.

The land and building was provided by the WED while a subsidy of Rs 6 lakh was given by the district industrial centre. Two experts from Mumbai trained the women in the process.

“We first put the wood pulp into the grinding machine which churns out a cotton-like substance. We pick up 44 gm of that for a pad, iron it and put it in the machine which delivers the pad. After gumming, the pad is ready for use and we put it in the steriliser,” Bhalothia said, explaining the process.

The pads are wrapped into packets of eight pieces each and given to women for selling at Rs 25 a packet. The saleswomen and health and anganwadi workers of the district sell it for Rs 28, making a profit of Rs 3 per piece, Bhalothia added.

A branded packet of six pads costs anything between Rs 40 to Rs 60.

The WED official said the 10 women who make the pads get Rs 150 as daily wage. The unit makes a profit of about 50 paise per pad, after deducting the raw material, operational and employee costs, and the daily profit comes to about Rs 500 which goes to the society.

In another six months, the unit will be switching to another kind of wood pulp that will make the pad biodegradable, Neola added.