The central government has printed 24,650 electoral bonds of Rs 1 crore denomination each since its introduction in 2018, out of which only 10,108 have been sold so far, according to two separate Right To Information (RTI) replies, reported The Indian Express. From August 1 to October 29 alone, the government had printed 10,000 bonds worth Rs 1 crore each, according to the RTI replies from the State Bank of India (SBI), the bank authorised to issue and encash such bonds.
The recent tranche of bonds has been made available from October 1 to October 10 ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh state assembly polls.
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In 2019, bonds worth Rs 11,400 crore in different denominations, such as Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore, were printed by the India Security Press in Nashik, the SBI stated in reply to an RTI query filed by Kanhaiya Kumar, reported IE.
The SBI had authorised the sale of 10,000 bonds worth Rs 1 crore each in 2022 alone apart from the printing of such bonds done in 2018 and 2019.
On being asked if the cost incurred on printing bonds were covered by the exchequer or the purchaser of the bond, the SBI’s reply, dated October 29, as reported by IE, stated, “The stationary is acquired from GoI [Government of India] by SBI for Sale at its Authorised Branches (sic).”
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In the same reply, the SBI said that the Security Press had printed 10,000 fresh electoral bonds worth Rs 1 crore each, even after 5,068 bonds of similar denomination were lying unsold following the sale of the July tranche of bonds. The SBI further stated that 94 per cent of the bonds sold till date were of the Rs 1 crore denomination.
In another RTI response to activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retired) dated August 19, the Security Press said that the government had incurred a cost of Rs 1.85 crore in printing the bonds till date, which was 6,64,250. However, that didn’t include the recent tranche of bonds issued, that included 10,000 bonds worth Rs 1 crore each.