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Congress 'big scam' remarks on electoral bonds unfounded

Congress
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After the Congress staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on November 21 calling electoral bonds a 'big scam', Union Minister Piyush Goyal said those...

After the Congress staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on November 21 calling electoral bonds a 'big scam', Union Minister Piyush Goyal said those opposing the new electoral funding system are 'corrupt politicians' who don't want clean money to fund their election campaigns.

The electoral bonds are a success as per the government sources. It has helped in curbing corruption, no doubt. Moreover, all the information related to electoral bonds is available in the public domain through the Right to Information (RTI).

Earlier donations up to Rs 20,000 were allowed in cash. The new rule has brought it down to Rs 2,000 so that only poor people could help political parties with cash. Honest and clean money has started to come into Indian politics since then. Earlier, there was no record of where the money came from and where it went.

The new system will now allow tax-payers' money with KYC tags to buy bonds. The Centre has only made sure that whatever money was used in elections by parties came from banks directly. By electoral bonds, it is now ensured that money used in election proceedings must come from the bank through KYC procedures, and can be issued by selected SBI branches so that the SBI could keep track of it.

But the Congress and other Opposition parties feel that it is a scam perpetrated by the ruling BJP. Their contention stems from the RBI reservation over electoral bonds which was overruled by the government.

The electoral bonds were introduced with the Finance Bill 2017. On January 29, 2018, the Narendra Modi-led government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018. Any party that is registered under Section 29A of the Representation of People's Act, 1951 and has secured at least six per cent of the votes polled in the most recent general elections or Assembly elections is eligible to receive electoral bonds. Whether the Opposition likes it or not, electoral bonds lead to transparency.

The Congress leadership can see a scam in it, but they should understand that the bonds were introduced to ensure that all the donations made to a party would be accounted for in the balance sheets without exposing the donor details to the public. It would keep a tab on the use of black money for funding elections.

In the absence of electoral bonds, donors would have no option but to donate by cash after siphoning off money from their businesses. So these bonds would make the donations to political parties transparent while at the same time protecting the right to privacy of the donor. If the BJP received most of the funds donated through these bonds, where is the surprise element in it.

People and corporates bet on it. Now if a single party has received 90 per cent of electoral bonds within a certain window of time, instead of accusing them why not question why all other political parties chose only 10 per cent of the electoral bonds which would have accounted their income and expenses.

The basic thumb rule of a cleansing any financial system is to motivate and induce the hoarders of cash to enter the formal system.

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