Rich love electoral bonds: More than 91% donations over Rs 1 crore each

Udit Misra
The dominant use of high-value bonds clearly shows that almost the entire money came from the wealthiest section of the society.

Electoral bonds with denomination of Rs 1 crore accounted for more than 91 per cent of the Rs 5,896 crore raised in the first eleven of the total twelve phases over which bonds were sold by select branches of the State Bank of India.

According to documents obtained by transparency activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, bonds with a ticket size of Rs 1 crore (the highest available) and Rs 10 lakh accounted for almost 99.7 per cent of the total value of bonds sold in the first 11 phases between March 1, 2018 and July 24, 2019.

Almost 80 per cent of the bonds were encashed in New Delhi.

The other denominations — Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh — accounted for bonds worth just Rs 15.06 crore. In terms of the number of bonds (see table 1), 11,782 bonds were sold, of which 5,409 were of Rs 1 crore denomination and 4,723 of Rs 10 lakh denomination. Read | Poll bonds: Oppn seeks discussion, BJP hits back

The dominant use of high value bonds clearly shows that almost the entire money came from the wealthiest section of the society.

Also Read | Electoral bonds: Govt ignored red flags raised by Reserve Bank, EC

The RTI documents also show that over the 12 phases, just four cities accounted for 83 per cent of all electoral bonds by value. The SBI branches in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Hyderabad (see table 2) together accounted for bonds worth Rs 5,085 crore of the total Rs 6,128.72 crore. Of this, Rs 6,108.47 crore has been encashed, with the balance Rs 20.25 crore being deposited in the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Almost 80 per cent of the bonds were encashed in New Delhi.