Electoral bonds, which have been outlined with the aim of cleaning the political funding, can be bought at four branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) between March 1 and 10, the Finance Ministry said. The political donors can donate money to political parties only through these electoral bonds which can be encashed by received parties only through a designated bank account.
The electoral bonds will be available at main branches of the SBI in the four metro cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. “State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds initially at its 4 Authorised Branches. The First issue of the Scheme will be opened in March 2018 in place of January 2018 for the First Quarter of 2018,” the Finance Ministry said in a tweet.
“Accordingly, the first sale of Electoral Bonds will commence from 1st March 2018 for a period of 10 days i.e. up to 10th March 2018,” the ministry added, saying that the electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue and no payment will be made to any receiving political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.
The political parties will get their account credited on the same day of depositing the bond. The electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to political donations in form of cash by the Narendra Modi government. The electoral bonds will not carry the name of the donor but the donor will have to give her/his KYC details to banks.
The idea of electoral bonds was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2017-18 to make political funding transparent. On January 2, the government had notified the contours of new electoral bonds. Even as they are called bonds, they will be interest-free debt instrument.