The government has approved the issuance of the 30th tranche of electoral bonds that will open for sale on Tuesday.
Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency to political funding. General elections are due later this year as the term of the 17th Lok Sabha is coming to an end.
“State Bank of India (SBI), in the XXX Phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches w.e.f. January 2 to January 11, 2024,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The sale of the first batch of electoral bonds happened in March 2018.
Electoral bonds are encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank. SBI is the only authorised bank to issue electoral bonds.
The authorised SBI branches include those in Bengaluru, Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur, and Mumbai.
The finance ministry further said electoral bonds will be valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue, and no payment will be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after the expiry of the validity period.
“The electoral bond deposited by an eligible political party in its account shall be credited on the same day,” it added.
Electoral bonds can be purchased by Indian citizens or entities incorporated or established in the country.
Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha or legislative assembly elections are eligible to receive funding through electoral bonds, the ministry said.