Electoral bonds worth Rs6,210 crore sold since 2018, reveals RTI query
Electoral bonds worth Rs62,103,947,000, printed over 13 phases, have been sold until March this year since 2018, according to the State Bank of India in response to a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The query, which was filed by activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.), shows that nearly 660,000 electoral bonds have been printed until March 19,2020. However, only 12,452 were sold until March.
Electoral Bonds are issued four times a year -- in January, April, July and October. This year, however, they were only issued in January and in October, just ahead of the Bihar elections. Until March this year, only 47 electoral bonds worth Rs1,000, 70 worth Rs10,000, 1,722 worth Rs100,000, 4,911 worth Rs1,000,000, and 5,702 worth Rs10,000,000 have been sold.
Nearly 92% of the printed Rs10,000,000 electoral bonds have been sold, whereas nearly 7% of those worth Rs1,000,000 have been sold. The remaining denominations have barely been sold, amounting to less than 1% of the total printed.
Of the bonds printed, 12 have been cancelled so far, one worth Rs1,000 and eleven worth Rs10,000,000. “The department of economic affairs hasn’t shared the reason for their cancellation,” Batra told Hindustan Times.
The printing of electoral bonds, since their inception in 2018, has cost over Rs18,599,000. These are printed at a price of Rs28 per bond, including GST. “The printing cost is borne by the government, that is, the tax payers,” said Batra. “The denominations sold also shows that only rich corporates are buying these bonds.”
Electoral bonds have been a contentious issue among Opposition and civil rights activists who allege that it makes the system opaque, with no means of tracing the contributor.