Electoral bonds are bearer instruments in the nature of Promissory Notes issued by banks. They are interest-free instruments that can be purchased from specified branches of the State Bank of India by any citizen of India or body incorporated in India within fixed periods. The government’s argument was that banks would be able to track the buyers of electoral bonds through their KYC details and thus ensure that clean money comes into the system, while protecting the donor’s anonymity. However, critics argue that this has made political funding more opaque since there is no way of knowing who donated and how much to a political party. There is also no cap on the quantum of electoral bonds. The BJP was the biggest beneficiary of electoral bonds in 2017-18, accounting for 94.5% of the bonds worth a little over ₹210 crore.
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