Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 notified by the Government
The Central Government, on 2nd Januray, 2018 notified the much talked Electrical Bond Scheme. According to the Government, the Bonds will bring substantial transparency in political donations as against the present system of contributions in the election funding mechanism.
The Government claims that now, with the introduction of the Bonds, how much funding comes, what kind of funding it is, the source of funding and where it will be spent known clearly. The idea of non disclosure of the identity of the person donating ensure people are free to donate to any political party of their choice.
All payments for the issuance of the bond shall be accepted in Indian rupees, through demand draft or cheque or through Electronic Clearing System or direct debit to the buyer’s account. This will also reinforce the idea of moving away from a cash system towards clean money.
The Bonds would be used as a medium to make political donations by purchasing them digitally or through cheque. After the purchase of the bonds it can be gifted to a political party registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and has secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly, as the case may be.
The Bonds under this Scheme may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. The political party can encash these electoral bonds through their bank accounts. The bank account used must be the one notified to the Election Commission and the bonds may have to be redeemed within a prescribed time period.
The bonds are “bearer bonds” and the identity of the donor will not be known to the receiver. However, the authorised bank may call for any additional Know Your Customer documents, if it deems necessary.
The bonds shall be issued in the denomination of Rs. 1000, 10,000, 1,00,000, 10,00,000 and Rs. 1,00,00,000. The bond shall be valid for fifteen (15) days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period, this would, according to the Government, will ensure that Bonds do not turn into a parallel economy.
The face value of the bonds shall be counted as income by way of voluntary contributions received by an eligible political party, for the purpose of exemption from Income-tax under section 13A of the Income tax Act, 1961.