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Electoral bonds: Jaitley alleges most parties opposing political cleanup

Jaitley said most political parties were satisfied with the status quo and opposed to any change in the system

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The Modi government has brought down the 4.6% fiscal deficit inherited from the UPA government. Even minor fiscal slippage draws flak now: Arun Jaitley, Finance minister
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. File photo 

Finance Minister on Sunday said that most political parties are "fairly satisfied" with the present system of and would not like to move on to a transparent system such as

"India has not been able to evolve a transparent system... Most political groups seem fairly satisfied with the present arrangement and would not mind this status quo to continue. The effort, therefore, is to run down any alternative system which is devised to cleanse up the mechanism," Jaitley said in a write-up.

The Finance Minister, who had announced the concept of in his Budget speech for the year 2017-18 and introduced the same in the Lok Sabha on January 2, said that a number of reforms made over the years have resulted in "only a small fraction of the donations" coming through cheques.

"In order to carry forward this reform process, I had announced in my 2017-18 Budget speech that... donations of clean money could be made to political parties in several ways. A donor could enjoy a tax deduction by donating in cheques. Donors were also free to donate moneys online to political parties.

"In addition, a scheme of was announced to enable clean money and substantial transparency being brought into the system of political funding," he said, adding the scheme "envisages total clean money and substantial transparency" coming into the system of political funding.

A donor can purchase electoral bonds from a specified bank only by a banking instrument. He would have to disclose in his accounts the amount of political bonds that he has purchased. The life of the bond would be 15 days only.

A bond can only be encashed in a pre-declared account of a political party. Every political party in its returns will have to disclose the amount of donations it has received through electoral bonds to the

"In fact the choice has now to be consciously made between the existing system of substantial which involves total unclean money and is non-transparent and the new scheme which gives the option to the donors to donate through entirely a transparent method of cheque, online transaction or through electoral bonds," Jaitley said.

Although the Finance Minister said that the amount of money given by a donor to a political party would be known "only to the donor", the Opposition has taken exception to this claim.

The has said that hiding the donor names of electoral bonds is a regressive step and expressed concern that the move may stifle 'transparency' and give "unlimited access to ruling party to misuse information and state machinery to coerce the donors".

The Finance Minister said that the government is "willing to consider all suggestions to further strengthen the cleansing of political funding" but "impractical suggestions" will not help. 

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 08:15 IST