New Delhi, Jan 7: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the electoral bonds issued by the centre will bring transparency in funding of political parties. Jaitley, in a Facebook post, emphasised that the government is open to hold talks with political parties for the strengthening of cleansing of political funding in India. Jaitley’s comments come after days of his announcement that the electoral bonds, with a maximum validity of 15 days, will be sold by India’s largest bank, State Bank of India.
Jaitley added that the sources of unclean money remain unknown due to the present system of political funding heavily dominated by cash. “The conventional practice of funding the political system was to take donations in cash and undertake these expenditures in cash. The sources are anonymous or pseudonymous. The quantum of money was never disclosed. The present system ensures unclean money coming from unidentifiable sources. It is a wholly non-transparent system,” said Jaitley.
Jaitley said the donor, holding electoral bonds, will be able to avail the tax exemptions too. “A donor could enjoy a tax deduction by donating in cheque. Donors were also free to donate moneys online to political parties. A cash donation to a political party could not exceed an amount of Rs.2000/-. In addition, a scheme of electoral bonds was announced to enable clean money and substantial transparency being brought into the system of political funding,” added Jaitley.
Jaitley said the choice has now to be “consciously” made between the existing system of substantial cash donations involving unclean money and other transparent options like cheque, online transactions or electoral bonds.
“While all three methods involve clean money, the first two are totally transparent and the electoral bonds scheme is a substantial improvement in transparency over the present system of no-transparency,” he said.
“The government is willing to consider all suggestions to further strengthen the cleansing of political funding in India. It has to be borne in mind that impractical suggestions will not improve the cash denominated system. They would only consolidate it,” Mr Jaitley wrote.