Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) gave Rs 220 crore to an electoral trust in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019, as per their profit and loss account press release submitted with the exchanges on April 12, 2019. For FY19, TCS reported Rs 31,472 crore in net profit, an increase of 21.9 per cent over the previous fiscal year, while revenue at Rs 1.46 trillion was 19 per cent higher than FY18's.
TCS announced its audited financial results of the company and its subsidiaries for the year ended March 31, 2019. Of the total 7,162 crore which the company accounted under the sub-heading as 'other operating expenses' for the period Q4 FY2019, the company included a contribution of Rs 220 crore to an electoral trust, without giving any further details.
This appears to be one of the highest amount the company has ever contributed towards donations (also known as electoral funding).
Progressive Electoral Trust was established by the Tata Group. It was set up by Tata Trusts in 2013. In the past, Tata Group companies have been known to fund political parties, especially funding Congress, followed by Biju Janata Dal through through Progressive Electoral Trust.
Elections are expensive and need to be funded. India has a number of electoral trusts, which are intermediaries between corporates and political parties. Electoral trusts are registered as non-profit ventures under Section 8 of the Companies Act. Corporates are also entitled to tax benefits with regard to electoral trusts subject to certain conditions.
The concept of electoral trust, registered under a new framework that mandatorily requires 'Electoral Trust' in the name, has been introduced to bring in more transparency into political funding activities.
In the period of three years, between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2016, companies like Tata Sons, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consultancy, Tata Motors, Tata Global Overseas, and Tata Power had given money through Progressive Electoral Trust, which forwarded money to various parties like the Indian National Congress, Biju Janta Dal, Samajwadi Party, All India Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Janta Dal United, Dravida Munetra Kazhagam and BJP.
However, as per the latest annual report of Progressive Electoral Trust released on September 21, 2018, the total contributions received from all sources permissible as well as the total donations paid/disbursed to the political parties were standing Nil. In the case of the income and expenditure account, it had Rs 54,844 deficit for the fiscal period 2017-18.
Prudent Electoral Trust, with contributors like Bharti Group and DLF, is biggest among the other electoral trust. Contributions received by Prudent Electoral Trust form 87.18 per cent of the total amount donated to all electoral trusts during 2016-17. It gave almost all the money it generated i.e. Rs 144 crore out of Rs 169 crore -to BJP in 2017-18.
As per a report by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), corporates contributed as much as 12 times more money to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) than to those of the other 6 national parties combined in 2017-18.
(Edited by Rupa Burman Roy)