Electoral Bonds: Over 10,000 crore were mop up by parties since 2018


The Department of economic affairs (DEA), under the Union finance ministry latest data, revealed that the sale of bonds has now crossed Rs 10,000 crore. With parties getting another Rs 389.5 crore through such bonds in the 21st sale, according to data provided by the State bank of India (SBI).

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem them for money. Electoral bonds are purchased anonymously by donors and are valid for 15 days from the date of issue.

The sale of these bonds takes place in the order of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and one crore. A total of 18,779 electoral bonds have been sold since the scheme was notified in January 2018. In July, 475 electoral bonds were redeemed by parties, the SBI said in response to a right to information application filed by Commodore K Lokesh Batra. The political parties have collected the bonds worth Rs 389.5 crore despite no assembly election being scheduled till December.

After releasing information about these bonds, Batra said, “all eyes are on the Supreme Court that is to hear the ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) case for a stay of EB Scheme 2018”. Political parties received EBs worth Rs 648.48 crore from donors in the previous sale in April this year. The ruling party got all the large donations made by companies and individuals to national political parties in the financial year 2020-21.

In 2017, the Association for Democratic Reforms and non-governmental organizations filed a petition in Supreme Court demanding a stop to the sale of electoral bonds. The plea also noted that the ruling party at the centre had opened a unique sale window of the electoral bonds ahead of the state assembly.

The highest amount of electoral bonds since the beginning of the scheme- worth Rs 1,231 crore were sold this January in the run-up assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Uttar Pradesh.

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