The 16th installment of the electoral bond will open for sale from 1 April. The sale was approved by the Union Finance Ministry on Tuesday. They will be available until 10 April.
Political parties have been given electoral bonds as an alternative to cash donations given to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political donations.
Electoral bonds can be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India according to the Ministry of Finance.
The Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to ban the sale of these bonds in view of the assembly elections in five states and union territories of Puducherry. The court told the petitioner, the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, that the sale of these bonds continued uninterrupted in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
As per government rules, only political parties are registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured less than one percent of the vote in the last general election to the House. The people of the state or the Legislative Assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
These bonds can only be attached by a qualified political party through a bank account with an authorized bank.
The government has authorized State Bank of India to issue and authorize electoral bonds through its 29 sanctioned branches. The 15th installment of the bond sale took place from January 1 to January 10, 2021.
Opposition parties have criticized the electoral bond, calling the money route “opaque”. However, the Election Commission recently stated that these bonds do not violate the model code of conduct, which is caused by the assembly elections.
The electoral bond scheme was notified in 2018 by the government.