Elections, Electoral Bonds, Government of India, India, LS Elections, Stories

Electoral Bonds worth more than ₹ 350 crores purchased in January 2019


Like with the last two cycles of 2018,  January 2019 also witnessed heavy purchase of electoral bonds. As per data shared by SBI, bonds worth more than ₹350 crores were purchased in 9 cities in the ten days of January cycle. As is the case with past cycles, bonds in the denomination of ₹10 lakh & ₹1 crore accounted for 99.38% of the total amount. 


The Electoral Bonds were first announced in the 2017-18 budget and the scheme was subsequently notified in January 2018. Factly had earlier written about the bonds, their impact on transparency etc.

In the year 2018, electoral bonds were on sale in six cycles (in March, April, May, July, October & November). The bonds were available for purchase only in 4 cities in the March cycle and were made available in 11 cities for the next 3 cycles. This was extended to 29 cities for both the October & November cycles.  Data suggests that bonds worth ₹1056 crores were purchased in the year 2018 out of which bonds worth ₹11.2 crores were not encashed.

Coming to the January 2019 cycle, data from SBI suggests that bonds worth more than ₹350 crores were purchased in nine (9) cities. As with other cycles, bonds in the denomination of ₹10 lakh & ₹1 crore accounted for 99.38% of the total amount even in January.

January 2019 sets the record for most number of bonds purchased
In January 2019, the electoral bond scheme was made available in 29 SBI branches across India covering almost all the states & UTs.  Among the 29 branches, bonds were purchased only in nine (9) branches. Not a single bond was purchased in the remaining twenty (20) branches. This was the third cycle in succession where bonds worth more than ₹150 crores were purchased. 

A total of 937 bonds worth ₹350.36 crores were purchased in January 2019. This (937 bonds) is the most number of bonds purchased in any single cycle till date.  710 of these 937 bonds were in the denomination of ₹10 lakh & ₹1 crore. In terms of amount, bonds purchased in January 2019 are second only to bonds purchased in October 2018. 
More than 50% of the bonds by amount purchased in Kolkata alone
A total of 937 bonds worth ₹356.36 crores were purchased in the January 2019 cycle, taking the total value of bonds purchased till date to  ₹1407.09 crores. In the January 2019 cycle, most number of bonds were purchased in Kolkata (397) followed by 155 in Hyderabad, 139 in Bhubaneshwar and 135 in Mumbai. These are the only four places where more than 100 bonds each were purchased. 
In terms of value/amount, Kolkata was on the top where bonds worth ₹193.2 crores were purchased. In other words, Kolkata accounted for more than 50% of the value of bonds purchased in this cycle. Bhubaneshwar accounted for ₹38 crores worth bonds followed by Hyderabad where bonds worth ₹33.5 crores were purchased. 

99.38% of bonds purchased (in terms of value) were in denomination of  10 lakh &  1 crore
Data for January 2019 indicates that only two bonds of  1000 and ten bonds of 10000 denomination were purchased.  Out of the 937 bonds purchased in January 2019, 215 were of 1 lakh denomination, 402 were of  10 lakh denomination and the remaining 308 were of  1 crore denomination.  Together, bonds in the denomination of  10 lakh &  1 crore accounted for 99.38% of the bonds purchased in terms of value. It is highly likely that the Rs 10 lakh & Rs 1 crore denomination are purchased by corporates and not individuals. However, there is no concrete information on the type of purchasers since SBI has time & again refused to share such information.
Data of bonds purchased till date suggests no demand for lower denomination
Data of electoral bonds purchased till date (seven cycles) clearly indicates that there is no demand for bonds of lower denomination. In terms of value, bonds of  1 crore denomination accounted for  ₹1258 crores or 89.4% followed by bonds of  10 lakh denomination that accounted for   145.9 crore or 10.37%. Together, they accounted for over 99.8% of total value of bonds purchased till date. Even in terms of the number of bonds purchased, 2717 out of the 3071 or 88.5% of the bonds purchased till date are in the denomination of  10 lakh and  1 crore.
Every bond purchased in January 2019 encashed except ₹1000
Except for a bond worth 1000, every other bond purchased in January 2019 was encashed by political parties. Most bonds (₹214 crores) were encashed in New Delhi followed by ₹48 crores in Bhubaneshwar,₹33.3 crores in Mumbai, ₹29.5 crores in Hyderabad and ₹25.55 crores in Kolkata. While bonds were purchased in 9 different places, they were encashed in only 5 places. It is quite possible that the bonds encashed in New Delhi were by National parties while those in the other places by regional parties. 


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.