In a move to revamp and regulate political funding, the Government of India introduced the Electoral Bond Scheme in 2018, with critical amendments in 2022. This distinctive scheme offers a pathway for individuals and entities to purchase Electoral Bonds, facilitating donations to registered political parties. The latest development in this scheme is the opening of the 28th tranche of Electoral Bonds, which will be available for purchase for a ten-day period, starting from October 4, 2023, and concluding on October 13, 2023.
The Electoral Bond Scheme allows eligible individuals, who are Indian citizens, or entities incorporated or established in India, to purchase Electoral Bonds. These bonds can be procured individually or jointly with others.
Qualified Political Parties
Not all political parties qualify for Electoral Bond donations. Only those registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and securing a minimum of one percent of the votes in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State are eligible recipients.
State Bank of India’s Role
The State Bank of India (SBI) plays a pivotal role in this scheme, being authorized to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 authorized branches.
Validity Period of Electoral Bonds
One key aspect to remember is the limited validity of Electoral Bonds. They remain valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue. Any bond deposited after this period expires will not result in a payment to the respective political party. However, when an eligible political party deposits an Electoral Bond in its account, it will be credited on the same day.
The Electoral Bond Scheme is a significant step towards enhancing transparency in political funding. By channeling contributions through bonds issued by authorized banks, it aims to reduce the influence of illicit money in politics and promote a more accountable and transparent electoral process.