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Govt to go ahead with electoral bonds even in absence of political consensus on issue

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-07-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The government on Monday said it will go ahead with electoral bonds even if consensus eludes on the issue as political parties have not come up yet with any suggestion on the proposal.

The system of cash donation has to change and people despite knowing the “truth” are “reluctant” to offer their suggestions on the electoral bonds, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. “Therefore, if suggestions don’t come and consensus eludes us, then the government of the day can’t run away from its responsibility. It will have to announce its decision which will then become the law of he land,” he said in his address at the income tax day event in New Delhi.

In a major move aimed at promoting transparency in political funding, Jaitley had in this year’s budget speech announced capping of anonymous cash donations to political parties at Rs2,000 and introduced the concept of electoral bonds. “I think in the changing India today, there is going to be a large section of opinion which is going to support this,” he said. Jaitley has already asked political parties to offer a better suggestion on the proposed electoral bond mechanism, but said he had not received any suggestion till last week.

He had said that for last 70 years, India’s democracy has been funded by invisible money and elected representatives, governments, political parties, Parliament and even the Election Commission have completely failed in checking it and the electoral bonds would help to deal with it. As per the electoral bond mechanism announced in the budget, the proposed bonds will resemble a promissory note and not an interest-paying debt instrument.

They will be sold by authorized banks and can be deposited in notified accounts of political parties within the duration of their validity. The bonds will not carry the name of the donor and routing of the money through banks will ensure that only tax paid money comes into the political system.

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