ELECTORAL BONDS

  • While Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad saw the sale of most electoral bonds since they came into existence in 2018, a significant majority of these were encashed in New Delhi followed by Hyderabad and Kolkata out of 20 Indian cities over the entire sale period of their 22 tranches, according to a Right to Information (RTI) response.
  • In a response to a query filed by transparency activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd) from the State Bank of India (SBI), which is the sole financial entity empowered to both issue and encash these, electoral bonds worth ₹2,742 crore were sold in Mumbai, ₹2,387 crore in Kolkata and ₹1,885 crore in Hyderabad. The lowest sale, valued at ₹80 lakh, was recorded at Patna. Since 2018, electoral bonds worth ₹10,791 crore have been sold, according to the reply.
  • When it came to their encashment, New Delhi led the charge recording the encashment of electoral bonds worth ₹6,748 crore followed by ₹1,384 crore in Hyderabad and electoral bonds worth ₹1,012 crore in Kolkata.

Lowest in Srinagar

  • The lowest encashment of electoral bonds, at ₹50 lakh, was recorded in Srinagar and, according to the reply, bonds worth ₹10,767 crore have so far been encashed from 2018 till now.
  • At 10,108, bonds of the denomination of ₹1 crore accounted for the lion’s share of those being sold across 20 Indian cities followed by 6,562 of 10 lakh and 2,610 of one lakh denomination.
  • Mumbai accounted for the sale of 2,643 bonds of the 1 crore denomination followed by 2,152 at Kolkata and 1,815 at Hyderabad.
  • When it came to their redemption, however, out of the total number of 19,361 bonds encashed so far, 12,161 were encashed in New Delhi, 2,314 in Hyderabad and 2,302 in Kolkata.
  • As many as 6,331 electoral bonds encashed in the national capital were of the ₹1 crore denomination, while 1,300 and 922 bonds of this denomination were encashed in Hyderabad and Kolkata, respectively.
  • “As of now electoral bonds worth nearly ₹10,791.50 crore — of which 93.67% electoral bonds purchased are of one crore denomination each — leaving no doubt that it is big corporate(s) are purchasing electoral bonds for donations to ‘political parties’,” Commodore Batra alleged.
  • “The irony of the scheme is that while donors who buy them are not required to pay any service charges or commission to SBI, even the printing cost is borne by the government and ultimately by the taxpayers; so far, nearly ₹9.53 crore has been paid by for enabling such transactions,” he added.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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