2018 was the first year when electoral bonds were made available for purchase. Data from 2018 suggests that bonds worth ₹1056 crores were purchased & about 1% of them were not encashed.
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. 2018 was the first year when these bonds went on sale. Data obtained from State Bank of India (SBI), the authorized bank to issue electoral bonds, suggests that bonds worth ₹1056 crores were purchased in the year 2018 out of which bonds worth ₹11.2 crores were not encashed.
Six Cycles & ₹1056 crores worth bonds purchased in 2018
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. In 5 of these 6 cycles, bonds worth more than ₹100 crores were purchased. Most bonds were purchased in October 2018, i.e., bonds worth ₹401.7 crores were purchased in the October cycle.
Close to 60% of the bonds purchased in Mumbai & Kolkata
Of the 12 cities (states) where electoral bonds were purchased in the year 2018, close to 60% of the bonds by value or ₹614 crores were purchased in Maharashtra & West Bengal alone. Of the other states, more than ₹100 crores worth bonds each were purchased in New Delhi & Telangana. These 4 states together accounted for more than 80% of all the bonds purchased in 2018.
Data from the six cycles of 2018 indicates no demand for lower denomination
Data from the 6 cycles of 2018 clearly indicates that there is no demand for bonds of lower denomination. In terms of value, bonds of ₹1 crore denomination accounted for ₹950 crores or 89.9% followed by bonds of ₹10 lakh denomination that accounted for ₹105.7 crore or 10%. Together, they accounted for over 99.9% of total value of bonds purchased in 2018. Even in terms of the number of bonds purchased, 2007 out of the 2134 or 94.1% of the bonds purchased till date are in the denomination of ₹10 lakh and ₹1 crore.
Electoral Bonds have to be encashed within 15 days
As per the notification of the electoral bond scheme, purchased bonds can be encashed only by an eligible political party by depositing it in their bank account. The scheme guidelines also mention that the amount not encashed within fifteen days will be deposited by SBI to the Prime Minister Relief Fund.
27 bonds worth ₹11.2 crores not encashed till date
As per data shared by SBI in response to multiple applications under Right to Information (RTI), a total of 27 bonds were not encashed by political parties in the year 2018. This could also mean that the ones who purchased these 27 bonds may not have donated them to any political party. In terms of denomination, 14 bonds in the denomination of ₹1000, 2 bonds in the denomination of ₹10 lakh and 11 bonds in the denomination of ₹1 crore were not encashed. Together, bonds worth a total of ₹11.2 crores were not encashed. Thus this amount must have been deposited to the Prime Minister Relief Fund by SBI.
Close to 80% of the bonds encashed in Delhi
As per the data shared by SBI, close to 80% of the bonds by value were encashed in Delhi. Of the ₹1056 crores bonds purchased in 2018, ₹820 crores were encashed in Delhi followed by ₹95 crores in Hyderabad and ₹69 crores in Bhubaneshwar. In Kolkata, bonds worth ₹49 crores were encashed. Though most bonds (worth ₹383 crores) were purchased in Mumbai, only ₹10 crores were encashed there, which is less than 1% of the total purchase value. Not a single bond was encashed in Chennai, Gandhinagar, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Jaipur & Raipur where multiple electoral bonds were purchased. In terms of value, 78.5% of the bonds were encashed in Delhi while around 9.1% were encashed in Hyderabad followed by 6.6% in Bhubaneshwar and 4.7% in Kolkata. Such disproportionate encashment in Delhi suggests that majority of these bonds were donated to national political parties and not regional parties whose offices are usually not in Delhi. This was proved true in 2017-18 when 95% of the purchased electoral bonds went to the BJP.