Even in the election year, no takers for electoral bonds in Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal: The electoral bonds, introduced by the Government of India, to cleanse the electoral system of black money, so far, have had no takers in Madhya Pradesh. The TT Nagar, Bhopal branch of the State Bank of India has been authorised to sell the bonds. As these bonds have a validity of only 15 days, hence the government extends the date of issuance every month. All the bonds received for sale by the SBI are being returned to the government month after month.

The government expected that with the assembly elections due in the state this year, the bonds will sell like hotcakes. However, that did not happen. In fact, not a single bond was sold.

‘People prefer direct donations’

The political parties, however, are not worried. The ruling BJP says that small businessmen have been donating money to the party. They donate between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to the party and they are issued proper receipts. “Even doctors and chartered accountants do not take the bond route,” Deepak Vijayvargiya, chief spokesperson for the state BJP said.

The Union Government had announced the electoral bond scheme in the Union budget 2017 and the sale of the bonds began from March 2018. Initially, the bonds were made available for sale to the Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata branches of the SBI.

In response to an RTI query, the SBI told Bhopal-based social activist Chandrashekhar Gaur that in the period March-May, bonds worth Rs 438 crore were sold in different parts of the country. But not a single bond was purchased in the state.

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What is an electoral bond?

An electoral bond is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note — in effect, it will be similar to a bank note that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest. It can be purchased by any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India. The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore and are available at specified branches of State Bank of India. They can be bought by the donor with a KYC-compliant account. Donors can donate the bonds to their party of choice which can then be cashed in via the party’s verified account within 15 days. [/box]

(Story: Gurudutt Tiwari)