Updated: October 27, 2021 6:25:57 am
POLITICAL PARTIES are getting funds from donors through electoral bonds even during a non-election period. They received electoral bonds worth Rs 614.33 crore from donors in October, according to data from State Bank of India (SBI).
While bonds worth Rs 200 crore were sold by the SBI’s Kolkata main branch, bonds worth Rs 195 crore were sold by the bank’s Chennai branch. This was followed by SBI’s Hyderabad branch, which sold bonds worth Rs 140 crore.
In the previous sale held in July this year, the political parties received Rs 150 crore.
As much as Rs 593 crore bonds were of the face value of Rs 1 crore each and Rs 18.90 crore bonds were of the face value of Rs 10 lakh each, SBI, the only bank authorised to sell these bonds, said in reply to an RTI application filed by Commodore Lokesh K Batra (Retd).
According to SBI, the bond sale, 18th phase, took place between October 1 and 10.
With this, political parties have received a total of Rs 7,994 crore in 18 phases from donors, mainly corporate houses and industrialists, towards “funding of elections”. As of now, 6,812 bonds issued were of Rs one crore value.
In April 2021, when the election process in four states and one Union Territory was in full swing, the SBI sold bonds worth Rs 695.34 crore to donors of parties. The Supreme Court had refused to stay sales of electoral bonds ahead of the last assembly polls on a PIL filed by an NGO pertaining to funding of parties and alleging lack of transparency.
Electoral bonds are purchased anonymously by donors and are valid for 15 days from the date of issue. A debt instrument, these can be bought by donors from a bank, and the political party can then encash them. These can be redeemed only by an eligible party by depositing the same in its designated account maintained with a bank.
The bonds are issued by SBI in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.
Political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which have secured not less than one per cent of the votes in the last general election to an Assembly or Parliament, are eligible to open current accounts for redemption of electoral bonds.
According to the SBI, Rs 20.28 crore worth electoral bonds were not encashed by political parties. This money is being transferred to PMNRF.
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