RBI, Election Commission have no information on bonds for political parties funding

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New Delhi | November 24, 2017 4:02 PM

The Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission have no information on electoral bonds, which were announced about nine months back for the funding of political parties, according to an RTI reply.

rbi, reserve bank, apex bank, election commission, electoral bonds, political parties, political funding, RTI query, Arun jaitleyThe information sought is not available “in any material form hence cannot be provided”, the Commission said in its reply to the RTI application filed by Venkatesh Nayak, who works with NGO — Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. (Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission have no information on electoral bonds, which were announced about nine months back for the funding of political parties, according to an RTI reply. “We have no information to furnish,” the central bank said in its reply to the RTI query. The RBI was asked details of the draft electoral bond scheme. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on February 1 announced introduction of electoral bonds. “As an additional step, an amendment is being proposed to the Reserve Bank of India Act to enable the issuance of electoral bonds in accordance with a scheme that the Government of India would frame in this regard,” Jaitley had said. Under this scheme, a donor could purchase bonds from authorised banks against cheque and digital payments only. “They shall be redeemable only in the designated account of a registered political party. These bonds will be redeemable within the prescribed time limit from issuance of bond,” the finance minister had said. The RTI application was also filed with the Election Commission. The information sought is not available “in any material form hence cannot be provided”, the Commission said in its reply to the RTI application filed by Venkatesh Nayak, who works with NGO — Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

Nayak said electoral bonds, if implemented in the present form, will bring the era of transparency in political party funding to an abrupt end, contrary to the trend across the world which is for greater transparency in order to make them more accountable to the people. “Strangely, NDA-II is undoing the transparency regime for political party funding that was established during the Vajpayee-era without any kind of public consultation,” he said, asking the government to have a wider consultation on the issue.

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