Ahead of the Assembly elections in five States, the government on Tuesday approved the issuance of the 17th tranche of electoral bonds, which will be open for sale from July 1 to 10.
Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. However, opposition parties have been raising concerns about the alleged opaqueness in funding through such bonds.
“State Bank of India (SBI), in the XVII phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches with effect from July 1 to July 10, 2021,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities such as Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Srinagar, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur, Mumbai and Lucknow.
The sale of the first batch of electoral bonds took place from March 1-10, 2018. The 16th tranche of bond sale took place from April 1-10, 2021.
According to the provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds can be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in the country. Registered political parties that have secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or a legislative Assembly are eligible to receive electoral bonds.
The SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds.
An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to any payee political party if a bond is deposited after the expiry of its validity period, according to the statement.
A bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.