In a bid to clean up election funding, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday came out with contours of new ‘electoral bonds’ that can be bought from specified branches of SBI and used to donate money to political parties.
The bearer instrument will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore, he said in a statement in the Lok Sabha. Although called a bond, they will be interest-free debt instruments that resemble promissory notes where the SBI will be the custodian of the donor’s funds until the political parties are paid.
The electoral bonds with a life of only 15 days, during which it can be used for making donation only to registered political parties, can be encashed only through a designated bank account of the receiver. The bonds will be available for purchase for 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October. The window would be for 30 days in the year of general election.
Jaitley said the purchaser, whose name will not appear on the bonds, would have to make KYC disclosures to the SBI. “A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond,” he said.