Electoral bonds: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A K Joti has termed the scheme “as one step towards the right direction.” However, Joti claimed that Electoral bonds will not solve all problems pertaining to transparency in political funding. Joti’s statement marks a shift in Election Commission’s stance. Earlier, Ex-CEC Nasim Zaidi had said that the Commission feels electoral bonds will “impact transparency (in poll funding) negatively”.
“There will be a banking trail of the donations which will be made. That is one step in the right direction. I have not said it will solve all the problems…Let it (bonds) be rolled out..,” Joti said, when asked if the usage of these bonds will address issues pertaining to transparency in funding of political parties.
Electoral bonds, which were introduced by the Modi government to make funding to political parties transparent, will allow a political donor to purchase bonds from authorised banks and can be redeemed by parties only through registered accounts in a prescribed time frame.
Earlier, In a bid to clean up election funding, FM Jaitley had come out with contours of new electoral bonds that can be bought from specified branches of SBI and used to donate money to political parties.
The bearer instrument will not carry the name of the payee 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, he said in a statement in the Lok Sabha. Although called a bond, they will be interest-free debt instruments that resemble promissory notes where the SBI will be the custodian of the donor’s funds until the political parties are paid. The electoral bonds with a life of only 15 days, during which it can be used for making donation only to registered political parties, can be encashed only through a designated bank account of the receiver. The bonds will be available for purchase for 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October. The window would be for 30 days in the year of general election.
FM Jaitley had said the purchaser, whose name will not appear on the bonds, would have to make KYC disclosures to the SBI. “A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond,” he said.