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The government on Wednesday approved the issuance of the 21st tranche of electoral bonds, which will open for sale from July 1. Electoral bonds have been introduced as an alternative to cash donations to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorized to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 authorized branches in the 21st phase of the sale, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
Authorized SBI branches include branches in Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur and Mumbai. Assembly elections are due in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year. Voting for five states, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa, was held in March this year. The 20th tranche of the bond sale took place from April 1 to April 10, 2022. The first batch of electoral bonds were sold from March 1-10, 2018.
SBI is the only authorized bank to issue Electoral Bonds. The electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment will be made to any political party if the bond is deposited after the expiry of the validity period, the statement said. Electoral bonds can be purchased by Indian citizens or entities incorporated or established in the country. Registered political parties which have secured at least one per cent votes in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections are eligible to receive funds through electoral bonds.