New Delhi: At a time when the Central government and the Opposition are in a tug of war over electoral bonds, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clearly stated that it didn’t have any objections to the issuance of electoral bonds through the State Bank of India (SBI).
While replying to a query on electoral bonds in Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman said the RBI, being a stakeholder, was involved in consultations with the Central government at the stage of conceptualisation of electoral bonds.
“During the consultation process, they had questions about the particular platform for its issuance as to who is going to issue. And also the proforma with which it is going to be issued,”Sitharamn said.
Clarifying further, Sitharaman stated that the Committee of the Central Board (CCB) of RBI in its meeting on October 11, 2017 indirectly agreed for electoral bonds to be issued if it is done by the SBI.
She said that the RBI in the CCB meeting must have discussed many other multiple facets of the Electoral Bonds schemes.
While replying to yet another question, Sitharaman said the Central government couldn’t access information of anonymous donors because the gazette notification itself clearly said it had to be a matter of confidentiality by the issuing authority. She further stated that the identity of the donors could only be known through a court order.
Last month, the Congress had slammed the government over electoral bond and had staged a walkout of the House. Congress leader Manish Tewari raised the issue in the Lok Sabha and said that the decision has institutionalised ‘government corruption’.
“I want to draw the attention of the House towards electoral bonds. The electoral bond scheme was limited to elections. RTI in 2018 revealed that the government overruled Reserve Bank of India on electoral bonds,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said in Lok Sabha.
(With inputs from agencies)