- The EC had critiqued the scheme arguing against the anonymity of the donors
- EC said it militates against transparency and prevents citizens from knowing the sources of funding to political parties.
- In 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the scheme and applauded it as a measure to ‘cleanse the system of political funding’.
Though implementation of electoral bonds scheme has substantially reduced cash component of donations, the ruling party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has benefited a lot compared to the opposition, Congress. The BJP received Rs 210 crore of the overall Rs 221 crore while the Congress received only Rs 5 crore.
The government had earlier said in the Lok Sabha that in the FY 2018, 520 electoral bonds worth Rs 222 crore were issued, of which 511, worth Rs 221 crore were redeemed.
As per various reports, the BJP had breached the Rs 1,000 crore mark as it raised Rs 1,027 crore in 2017-18 and spent Rs 758 crore. The report stressed that the party spent more than Rs 567 crore on election/general propaganda, Rs22 crore on employee costs and Rs 143 crore on administrative costs.
If you are wondering about electoral bonds, well it is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note, in effect, it will be similar to a banknote that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest. It can be purchased by any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India. The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
The Election Commission of India had critiqued the scheme arguing against the anonymity of the donors as it militates against transparency and prevents citizens from knowing the sources of funding for political parties.
In 2017, when the scheme was announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the government had applauded it as a measure to ‘cleanse the system of political funding’. The report states that the BJP received Rs 990 crore as total contributions and collections in the financial year 2017-18, nearly seven times more than the Congress’s Rs 142.8 crore. The BJP received 66.34 percent of the overall donations above Rs 20,000 given to the six national parties – BJP, INC, NCP, CPI (M), CPI, and AITC in FY 2016-17. In 2017-18, the BJP’s share increased to 73.49 percent.”