Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti on Thursday said electoral bonds were a step in the right direction as they would ensure a digital trail of transactions. Joti’s view contradicts the opinion the Election Commission had in 2017, when it had called electoral bonds a “retrograde step”.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Joti insisted that nothing had changed: “What I am saying is that now there will be digital and banking trail of donations. That is one step towards the right direction. I have not said that it will solve all problems.”
He said: “The notification has [come out] only few days back. So let it be rolled out and then we can get good feedback [on its impact].”
On January 2, the Centre notified detailed norms for the use of electoral bonds for the funding of political parties, nearly a year after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley first introduced the concept of electoral bonds in his last Union Budget. Jaitley has said the scheme is a substantial improvement in transparency of political funding.
After the scheme was announced, then Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had said that electoral bonds would “impact transparency negatively”. The Election Commission had also asked the government to “reconsider” and “modify” the idea.