New Delhi, Feb 28 : With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the Finance Ministry on Thursday announced the sale of electoral bonds in three tranches from next month.
In a statement here on Thursday, the Finance Ministry said it has authorised the State Bank of India (SBI) for sale of electoral bonds in March, April and May.
"The SBI has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches in March, April and May," the statement said.
The electoral bonds will be sold from March 1-15, April 1-20 and May 6-15. The general elections are due in April-May and these bonds are expected to draw huge response from corporates.
Electoral bonds have seen roller-coaster response ever since they were first launched in March 2018. The government had introduced electoral bonds as an alternative to cash donations to the political parties with an aim to bring more transparency in political funding.
The value of bonds, to be issued in 2019, could not be ascertained as no official figure has been released. But sources said Rs 1,000 crore bonds may be issued.
Funding received via bonds by political parties will be known after they file income tax returns at the end of the present financial year.
These bonds will be valid for 15 days from the date of their issuance and no payment will be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after the expiry of that period, the statement said.
An electoral bond, deposited by an eligible political party in its account, shall be credited on the same day. The 29 specified SBI branches are located in various cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Ranchi and Bengaluru.
These electoral bonds could 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 votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or the Assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
The SBI is the only authorised bank that can issue such bonds. A person can buy the electoral bonds either on his own or jointly with other individuals.