The first tranche of electoral bonds, aimed at improving transparency in the poll-related funding system, will be available at four branches of State Bank of India (SBI) from March 1, the finance ministry said on Thursday. Bonds can be purchased from only the main branches of SBI in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai for a period of ten days through March 10, it said. Earlier, the government was planning to allow issuance of such bonds for the current quarter in January. “It may be noted that electoral bond shall be valid for fifteen days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The bond deposited by any eligible political party to its account shall be credited on the same day,” the ministry said. The bonds won’t name the donor or the political party he is donating to, but these can be bought only through bank accounts after meeting all KYC norms.
These will be bearer instruments in the nature of a promissory note, carrying no interest, 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. The validity period of the bonds is restricted to just 15 days to ensure they do not become a parallel currency. Only registered political parties, which have secured at least 1% vote in the previous general or Assembly election, will be eligible to receive these bonds. The concept of electoral bonds was first announced by Jaitley in the Budget for 2017-18.