The State Bank of India (SBI) has sold 12,313 electoral bonds worth Rs 6,128 crore from March 2018 to October this year, revealed a recent report.
According to a ADR report, most electoral bonds were sold in Mumbai at Rs 1,880 crore, followed by Rs 1,440 crore in Kolkata, Rs 919 crore in New Delhi and Rs 838 crore in Hyderabad among other cities.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) is an Indian non-partisan, non-governmental organisation which works in the area of electoral and political reforms.
Electoral bonds was launched on March 1 last year by the Modi government as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties. The idea was to increase transparency in political funding and curb the usage of black money. The Centre subsequently notified the Electoral Bonds Scheme in January this year.
The instrument is issued in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore and its sale is opened once in every quarter for 10 days, and for a month ahead of general elections or as notified by the government. They are valid for only 15 days.
Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds. As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
The SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds. It has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches, in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Ranchi, and Bengaluru.
Ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana last month, the government had authorised SBI to issue 12th tranche of electoral bonds to be used to make donations to political parties. The lender had conducted the 12th phase of electoral bonds sale between October 1 to October 10.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar