The government has opened yet another week-long window for electoral bond sales starting December 5, less than a month after it amended the Electoral Bond Scheme to enable an additional fortnight of sales in years when States and Union Territories with legislatures have polls.
The Finance Ministry on Saturday announced the 24th tranche of electoral bond sales through 29 branches of State Bank of India (SBI) across the country that are authorised to issue and encash these Bonds in the period from December 5 to December 12.
This is the third successive month that electoral bond sales have been opened up, starting with a ten-day window in October as per the original scheme, followed by a week of sales that began on November 9 ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections under the amended norms.
What is the Electoral Bond scheme?
The Electoral Bond scheme, introduced in January 2018 as an alternative to cash donations ‘to cleanse the system of political funding in the country’ allows donors to fund the poll campaigns of political parties of their choice by purchasing bonds through specified bank branches.
The scheme originally envisaged making such bonds available for a period of 10 days each in January, April, July and October, with an additional 30-day period to be specified by the Central Government in the year of the General elections.
Only those political parties that are registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than 1% of votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, are eligible to receive Electoral Bonds.
As per the scheme’s rules, electoral Bonds are valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if they are deposited after the validity period. The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account is to be credited on the same day.