Electoral bonds printing to have currency notes like secrecy to check counterfeiting

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New Delhi: The printing of electoral bonds will have as much secrecy as being maintained in case of currency notes as the government wants to make this system of political funding foolproof by eliminating any fake instrument coming to market.

The bonds, which will have a tenure of just 15 days, cannot be gifted to a new political party so as to ensure that new outfits are not floated overnight to launder funds, a source in the finance ministry said.

Besides, the bonds will be sold by the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) through its select branches, mostly in state capitals and major cities, he said.

In a bid to clean election financing, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday outlined details of the new electoral bonds, which are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties.

File image of Arun Jaitley. PTI

File image of Arun Jaitley. PTI

While the donor’s identify will be kept secret, the bonds can be encashed by receiving political parties only through a designated bank account.

“The bonds would be printed with utmost secrecy. The details would be as confidential as is kept at the time of printing of currency notes,” the source said.

Besides, to ensure single point availability of these bonds, the government has mandated only SBI to sell these bonds for 10 days each in months of January, April, July and October.

“The bonds would be available at most in 8-10 branches of SBI, including those in state capitals,” he added.

Aiming to make political funding more transparent, the idea of electoral bonds was first floated by Jaitley in his last Budget.

As per the contours of the scheme, the bonds will not carry the donor’s name even though the purchaser would have to fulfil KYC norms at the bank.

The source further said that maintaining secrecy of the donor’s name would help the opposition parties as the donors would now have a free hand to donate to them without worrying about his identity being divulged.

“If the donor’s name was not kept secret, then it would have encouraged cash donations which would run contrary to the idea of making the system of political funding transparent,” he added.

The electoral bonds can be given to registered political party which has secured at least 1 percent vote in last election. That party will have to give one bank account to the Election Commission and the bonds would have to be encashed within 15 days.

“As per the norms, new political parties cannot encash the bonds. These have been done to ensure that no one floats a party to launder money,” the source added.

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Published Date: Jan 03, 2018 03:32 pm | Updated Date: Jan 03, 2018 03:32 pm

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