Sale of 20th tranche of electoral bonds to begin on April 1

The government on Wednesday approved issuance of the 20th tranche of electoral bonds that will open for sale from April 1 to 10.

Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. However, Opposition parties have been raising concerns about alleged opaqueness in funding through such bonds.

“State Bank of India (SBI), in the 20th phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches with effect from April 1 to April 10, 2022,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities such as Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur, and Mumbai.

According to provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds can be purchased by any Indian citizen or entities incorporated or established in the country. Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of Lok Sabha or legislative assembly are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

Assembly elections are due in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year while polls for five states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa– concluded earlier this month.

The 19th tranche of bond sale took place from January 1 to January 10, 2022. The sale of the first batch of electoral bonds took place from March 1-10, 2018.

SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds.

An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to any political party, if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period, as per the statement.

The bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.

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