The government Wednesday curtailed the time period for sale of electoral bonds by the SBI in the current month to only 5 days from May 6, instead of 10 days as was announced earlier.
The government, however, did not give any reason for reducing the time period for the sale of electoral bonds.
“The Government of India has now decided to restrict the next phase of Electoral Bonds sale to May 6, 2019, to May 10, 2019 (instead of May 6, 2019, to May 15, 2019, scheduled and notified earlier),” a finance ministry statement said.
Ahead of the general elections, the government in February had announced that electoral bonds will be sold in three tranches from March 1-15, April 1-20 and May 6-15.
The 7-phase general elections, which began on April 11, will continue till May 19 and counting of the vote will take place on May 23.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is hearing a petition by NGO ‘Association of Democratic Reforms’ which had prayed that the issuance of electoral bonds have stayed or the names of donors are made public.
The Supreme Court last month had asked political parties to furnish by May 30 all the details of funds received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission in a sealed cover.
The government had brought in the electoral bond scheme as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of its efforts to bring transparency in political funding.
The State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches, in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Ranchi, and Bengaluru.
The 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 expiry of the validity period.
The electoral bond deposited by an eligible political party in its account will be credited on the same day.
As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
The SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds. A person can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly, with other individuals.