Government kicks off New Year with fresh electoral bond sales from January 2

This is the 30th tranche of bond issuances under the electoral bond scheme that was launched in 2018 to “cleanse the system of political funding”, and is being scrutinised by the Supreme Court  

Updated - January 02, 2024 06:45 am IST

Published - January 01, 2024 09:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The government has announced a fresh tranche of electoral bond sales for a 10-day period starting on January 2 through the authorised branches of State Bank of India across the country.

This is the 30th tranche of bond issuances under the electoral bond scheme that was launched in 2018 to “cleanse the system of political funding”, and is being scrutinised by the Supreme Court.

Also Read | The legality of the electoral bonds scheme | Explained 

The last two tranches of these bonds were sold over a fortnight in November and a 10-day period in October, ahead of five State Assembly elections. Electoral bonds are effectively likely to be on sale for 75 days between October 2023 and May 2024, when the Lok Sabha polls are expected.

The government had notified November’s bond sales days after the apex court reserved its judgment on the scheme’s validity and sought updated data from the Election Commission (EC) on the contributions received by political parties through the scheme.

EC to produce data

The Supreme Court on December 28 gave the EC two weeks to produce updated data, till September 30, 2023, on contributions received by political parties through the electoral bonds scheme.

Also Read | Electoral bonds promote ‘clean money’ donations to political parties, AG tells SC

The original scheme envisaged sales of electoral bonds for 10 days each in January, April, July and October every year, and a 30-day period during the year of the Lok Sabha polls. In 2023, the bonds’ sale window for January was notified on the 17th of the month and kept open from January 19 to 28.

In late 2022, the government expanded the time window for issuance of bonds under the scheme by adding an extra fortnight of electoral bond sales in years where States and union territories with legislatures have elections. That power was first exercised ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls in 2022 followed by the fortnight of sales in November 2023.

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