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Electoral bonds sold in March 2018 were printed in Feb only: RTI data

According to the RTI reply received by transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the bonds were not sold in January 2018, which would have been the first window after the scheme was introduced, as they were printed in February and March that year.

The November 29 RTI reply from India Security Press, Nashik, which prints electoral bonds, says that 1,71,250 and 4,33,000 bonds of different denominations were printed on February 23 and March 1, respectively, in 2018. (Representational)

The first set of electoral bonds for political funding was printed in February 2018 and put on sale from March 1 that year even as the scheme did not have a sale window in March, replies to the Right to Information (RTI) pleas by an activist reveal.

According to the RTI reply received by transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the bonds were not sold in January 2018, which would have been the first window after the scheme was introduced, as they were printed in February and March that year.

The November 29 RTI reply from India Security Press, Nashik, which prints electoral bonds, says that 1,71,250 and 4,33,000 bonds of different denominations were printed on February 23 and March 1, respectively, in 2018.

The sale of the first tranche (in March) began in the run-up to the Karnataka polls in May 2018, with Assembly elections in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya having been completed in February that year.

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Electoral bonds worth Rs 222 crore were sold between March 1 and 9 in 2018 at four branches of the State Bank of India (SBI), the only bank authorised by the government for the job, according to an RTI reply by SBI in 2019 to Batra.

After being announced by then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2017-18 Budget speech on February 1, 2017, the Electoral Bond Scheme-2018 was notified by the ministry on January 2, 2018. The bonds were to be sold for 10-day period each in January, April, July and October every year, with an additional 30-day period allowed in a year with Lok Sabha elections.

The scheme was amended on November 7 this year to allow an additional 15 days of sale in a year with Assembly elections, with the other sale windows remaining the same.

First published on: 02-12-2022 at 22:08 IST
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