Govt recently printed 10k electoral bonds worth Rs 1 cr each, shows RTI reply


The Union government printed 10,000 electoral bonds worth Rs 1 crore each sometime between August 1 and October 29, according to two Right to Information replies from State Bank of India (SBI) on those dates.

The most recent tranche of electoral bonds went on sale from October 1 to October 10, in the run-up to the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat elections.

The last time the government printed electoral bonds was in 2019, when bonds worth Rs 11,400 crore in different denominations were printed at the India Security Press in Nashik, according to the October 29 reply by SBI to RTI activist Kanhaiya Kumar.

SBI, the only bank authorised by the government to sell electoral bonds, said in the same reply that 10,000 electoral bonds worth Rs 1 crore were printed in the calendar year 2022. In reply to Kumar’s earlier RTI query with the same question, SBI had on August 1 provided details of the printing of electoral bonds in 2018 and 2019 as the only instances of the same.

Asked whether the expenditure incurred on printing of the electoral bonds was borne by the exchequer or the purchaser of the bond, SBI in its October 29 reply stated: “The stationary is acquired from GoI [Government of India] by SBI for Sale at its Authorised Branches (sic).”

Explained

Most popular choice

Over the years, poll bonds of Rs 1crore denomination, the highest denomination available in the scheme, have been the most popular choice for corporates and individuals. The scheme also includes bonds with denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. These, however, find few takers.

Citing data provided by SBI in its recent reply, Kumar said the government had printed 10,000 of the new Rs 1 crore-denomination electoral bonds even when 5,068 of the bonds with the same denomination were lying unsold after the sale of a tranche in July. Since the start of the scheme in 2018, the government has printed 24,650 Rs 1 crore-denomination bonds so far, selling 10,108 of them.

Over the years, the electoral bonds of Rs 1 crore denomination, which are the highest denomination available in the scheme, have been the most popular choice for corporates and individuals who buy the bonds to give to political parties. According to SBI’s reply, about 94 per cent of the value of total electoral bonds sold so far have been in the form of bonds of Rs 1 crore denomination. The scheme also includes bonds with denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. These, however, find few takers.

Asked for the phase-wise and denomination-wise details of unsold electoral bonds since 2018, SBI said the information was not available centrally as the authorised branches were the ones selling the bonds.

On August 19, India Security Press said in its reply to RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retired) that the government had spent Rs 1.85 crore on the printing of electoral bonds so far. The number of electoral bonds printed till then — 6,64,250 — did not include the recently printed 10,000 Rs 1-crore denomination bonds as mentioned in SBI’s RTI reply to Kumar.

On June 16, the Central Information Commission had ordered India Security Press to provide the details of the cost and associated costs of printing of electoral bonds to Batra. The government press had earlier declined to give the information to Batra saying that its disclosure would adversely affect the economic interests of the country.





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here