Electoral bonds
Image Source: https://www.ndtv.com/business/state-bank-of-india-sbi-launches-360-dedicated-current-account-service-points-nationally-details-here-2477199

The State Bank Of India (SBI) sold electoral bonds worth Rs 970.50 crore between April 3 and April 12 in the 26th tranche of sales under the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018. 

This is nearly nine times the value of electoral bonds sold ahead of the previous polls in 2018, reports Indian Express. The 2023 Karnataka Assembly Elections will be held on May 10. 

The information was received on Tuesday in response to an RTI filed by transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd.). 

Electoral bonds are a financial instrument that can be bought by citizens and corporations to be donated to political parties. It was introduced by the government in 2018 in the name of keeping a tab on black money funding elections. These bonds can be purchased from designated branches of SBI in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh, and Rs. 1 crore. The identity of the donor is kept anonymous, and the bonds can be redeemed by the political party within 15 days of the issuance. The parties must open dedicated bank accounts at designated SBI branches to receive electoral bonds, The RTI shows that 25 parties had opened such accounts as of the latest tranche of sales. 

Bonds were available in 13 SBI branches in April 2018 and SBI sold 256 electoral bonds worth Rs 114.90 crore in the second tranche of sales that took place right before the previous Assembly polls in Karnataka. 

Bonds are currently available in 29 branches. The Hyderabad branch has the most sales with electoral bonds worth Rs 335.30 crore being sold. This is 34% of the total bonds sold in the country. Following Hyderabad, Kolkata (Rs 197.40 crore), Mumbai (Rs 169.37 crore), Chennai (Rs 122 crore) and New Delhi (Rs 55.65 crore) had high sales. About 58% of the total bonds sold were encashed in the New Delhi branch of SBI (Rs 565.79 crore), where national parties are likely to have their bank accounts.


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February 2024


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