Introduced with the Finance Bill 2017, and
notified in 2018, an electoral bond is just like a regular bank note, that can be bought
by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select 29 branches of State
Bank of India. Well, according to the Narendra Modi-led government,
electoral bonds were being introduced to ensure that all the donations made to a party would
be accounted for in the balance sheets without exposing the donor details to the public. The government also mentioned that it would
keep a tab on the use of black money for funding elections In the absence of electoral bonds, donors
would have no option but to donate by cash after siphoning off money from their businesses. Using electoral bonds is quite simple. A donor with a KYC-compliant account can purchase
the bonds and can then donate them to the party or individual of their choice These bonds will be issued in the range Rs
1,000 to Rs 1 crore and from specified SBI branches And receiver can encash the bonds through the party’s verified account, within fifteen
days. The electoral bonds can be purchased for 10
days at the beginning of every quarter. However, an additional period of 30 days shall be specified by the government in the year of Lok Sabha Parties registered under section 29A of the
Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and has secured at least one per
cent of the votes polled in the most recent General elections or Assembly elections is eligible to receive electoral bonds. The Election Commision of India will allot
a verified account to the parties for transactions. Besides, the electoral bonds will not bear
the name of the donor. Thus, the political party might not be aware of the donor’s identity Former finance minister Arun Jaitley, in Feburary
2017 said that the donations would be tax deductible. Hence, a donor will get a deduction
and the recipient, or the political party, will get tax exemption, provided returns are
filed by the political party. Experts are of the view that if the electoral
bonds scheme had been introduced to bring about greater transparency, and so the government
should not hide the identity of the donor. Besides, voters, too, will have no idea of
how, and through whom, a political party has been funded. The Congress party said that the donations
made through electoral bonds were equivalent to money laundering. On April 12, 2019 the Supreme Court asked
all the political parties to submit details of donations received through electoral bonds
to the ECI. It also asked the Finance Ministry to reduce
window of purchasing electoral bonds to five days. However, the apex court is yet to fix
a date for hearing other pleas against the electoral bonds. On April 10, 2019, the Election Commission
told the Supreme Court that it is not against the scheme but the anononyms status of the donor