The government on Monday told the Parliament that the Electoral Bond Scheme is an unprecedented step towards cleansing the process of funding of political parties.
The government launched the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018 on January 2, 2018, and 18 phases of the scheme have been completed till November 30, 2021, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha in a written reply to a question.
Responding to a question on if the government has made any assessment of the electoral bonds with regard to inflow of black money in electoral politics, Chaudhary said, "The Electoral Bond Scheme is, in fact, an unprecedented step towards cleansing the process of funding of political parties and major improvement over conventional practice of funding the political system through donations in cash."
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A purchaser is allowed to buy electoral bonds only on due fulfilment of all the extant instructions regarding KYC norms issued by the Reserve Bank of India and by making payment from a bank account. All payments for the issuance of the bond are accepted only in Indian rupees, through demand draft or cheque or through electronic clearing system or direct debit to the buyer's account, he added.
Chaudhary said the government has introduced a wide range of electoral reforms related to expenses incurred by candidate; disclosure obligations of individual candidates and political parties.
The State Bank of India (SBI) is authorised to issue and encash the electoral bonds. The bonds also carry hidden alphanumeric numbers, which is an internal security feature to prevent printing/ encashment of any forged bonds, the government said.
The electoral bonds purchased in the 18 phases amount to Rs 7,994.97 crore, while bonds worth Rs 7,974.69 crore have been redeemed by the eligible political parties, the government said. "The details of Electoral Bond encashed Political Party wise is not collated centrally at SBI," it added.
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