Electoral bond sales rise in 2019’s first 3 months

The country will go to polls this month with first phase of voting to take place on April 11. Representative image

The country will go to polls this month with first phase of voting to take place on April 11. Representative image

The sale of electoral bonds this year in two tranches ahead of Lok Sabha has witnessed a sharp increase to Rs 1,716.05 crore, a 62.39% rise from Rs 1056.73 crore sold in six tranches in the whole of 2018.

This was revealed in an RTI response by State Bank of India (SBI) to Pune-based Vihar Durve. Electoral bonds, which are introduced in 2017, are sold by the SBI branches after the Ministry of Finance issues notification for a given period.

According to the SBI, 12 centres of the bank sold electoral bonds worth Rs 1,716.05 crore in two rounds in – January and March – with Mumbai topping the list with Rs 405.60 crore followed by Kolkata (Rs 370.07 crore), Hyderabad (Rs 290.50 crore) and New Delhi (Rs 205.92 crore).

In 2018, the SBI had sold electoral bonds worth Rs 1,056.73 crore in six rounds in 2018 – March, April, May, July, October and November. Last year too, Mumbai topped the list with the sale of Rs 382.70 crore electoral bonds.

Last year when Karnataka went to Assembly polls, Bengaluru had sold electoral bonds worth Rs 82.75. However, this year, it has sold Rs 17.25 crore so far.

The issue of electoral bonds is now being debated in Supreme Court along with other electoral reforms issues. The Election Commission has told the apex court changes in law allowing electoral bonds and removal of cap on donations even from foreign sources to political parties would lead to increased use of black money in the poll process.

Opposition parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) are opposed to electoral bonds, alleging that it would benefit only the ruling BJP. According to audit reports and income tax reports submitted by parties to the Election Commission, the BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of electoral bonds, garnering 94.5% of the bonds worth around Rs 210 crore.

Sale of Electoral Bonds

2018 – Rs 1056,73,42,000

2019 – Rs 1716,05,14,000

What is an Electoral Bond?

It is a bearer Banking Instrument to be used for funding eligible parties

What is validity/maturity of electoral bonds?

Valid for 15 days from the date of issue. For example, an electoral Bond issued on 1 April, 2019 will be valid upto 15 April, 2019

Can an individual redeem these electoral bonds in any account?

No. These can be redeemed only by an eligible political party by depositing the same in their designated bank account maintained with authorised bank