Are unlimited and anonymous clean money donations the answer to cleaning up political funding in India?
Are unlimited and anonymous clean money donations the answer to cleaning up political funding in India?(Photo: The Quint/Lijumol Joseph)
  • 1. What is an electoral bond?
  • 2. Who can buy them?
  • 3. Is there a limit to how many electoral bonds that can be...
  • 4. Why were electoral bonds introduced?
  • 5. What’s in it for the purchasers?
  • 6. Are there any tax benefits to donating through electoral...
  • 7. Why the need for anonymity?
  • 8. Will these donors really remain anonymous?
  • 9. But what about transparency before the public?
  • 10. Do electoral bonds run the risk of running like parallel...
  • 11. Will electoral bonds allow foreign companies to donate to...
Electoral Bonds: Step Towards Clean Money in Political Funding?

Electoral bonds were first announced by Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley as a major reform that could “cleanse the system of political funding in the country”. It was in sync, he said, with the government’s desire to move towards a cashless economy. Experts say that while electoral bonds do provide an easy route for anonymous donations, they could be instrumental in blocking the entry of black money into political system. Critics, however, argue that shell companies could easily defeat the entire purpose.

The Election Commission has said that it will take at least one election cycle before it can pass comment on the efficacy of electoral bonds in bringing clean money into the political system while maintaining transparency.

On Sunday, 7 January, Arun Jaitley published a blog saying that while he finds cheques and online donations ideal for transparency, electoral bonds “envisage total clean money and substantial transparency” in political funding.

Here’s what we know so far and the possibilities that could emerge.

  • 1. What is an electoral bond?

    An interest-free banking instrument for political funding, electoral bonds can be purchased from SBI for 10 days in January, April, July and October and will be available in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1 crore. This will increase to 30 days in the year that Lok Sabha elections are due.

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