An RTI (Right To Information) query with SBI has revealed that sale of electoral bonds was 62 percent higher ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 compared to last year. According to a PTI report, in an RTI response to Pune's Vihar Durve, the State Bank of India (SBI) said that in January and March 2019 it sold electoral bonds worth Rs 1,716.05 crore while bonds worth Rs 1,056.73 crore were sold in March, April, May, July, October, and November last year.
Electoral bonds are bearer instruments that can be purchased by any Indian citizen or a body incorporated in India that wish to donate to a political party of their choice. These are available at the select SBI branches when the finance ministry notifies of its issue for a given period.
Parties registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and secured at least one percent of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or State election will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission of India and the electoral bond transactions can be made only using this account.
According to SBI data, Mumbai bought the highest electoral bonds worth Rs 495.60 crore, followed by Kolkata (Rs 370.07 crore), Hyderabad (Rs 290.50 crore), Delhi (Rs 205.92 crore) and Bhubaneswar (Rs 194 crore).