The central government on Monday amended rules of the electoral bonds scheme to allow its sale for 15 extra days during the years when elections are due in states and Union Territories.

Hours later, the Centre made use of the amendment to open a fresh window for the sale of electoral bonds from November 9 to November 15, ahead of the elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem for money. The Centre had first introduced electoral bonds in January 2018.

The bonds are available for purchase for a period of 10 days in the months of January, April, July and October. An additional 30 days window is allowed in the years of general elections.

Activists and non-governmental organisations have questioned the transparency of the bonds as no one is required to declare their purchase of these interest-free bonds and political parties do not need to show the source of the money.

However, the government has reasoned that the money is unlikely to be “black” since it has to be given by cheque.

In its 21st sale in July, donations through electoral bonds to political parties had gone up by Rs 389.5 crore to Rs 10,246 crore. The 22nd sale opened in October.

The Bharatiya Janata Party got nearly 75% of all large donations made by companies and individuals to national political parties in the financial year 2020-’21, according to the Election Commission.