According to latest figures of electoral bonds that have surfaced, out of the bonds worth Rs 22 crore in 2018, Rs 210 crore’s worth of donations have been given to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is 95 percent of the total bonds.
Is this a mere coincidence or there is something else going on here? Here’s a little philosophy around electoral bonds:
The Electoral Bonds
On 1 February 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that the donations received by political parties henceforth will not be in cash, but in the form of electoral bonds. However, the details of the donor and the receiver of this bond will be confidential.
It's commonly believed that the party predicted to win the elections receives the maximum funds, in anticipation of the benefits that will accrue once the party gains power. This is the very basis of the corruption that takes place in government.
The Quint’s Investigation
An investigation by The Quint’s Poonam Agarwal revealed that electoral bonds have a hidden alphanumeric code printed on them to track down the link between donors and political parties.
This apparent manoeuvring by the government poses a critical question – in the name of increased ‘transparency’ in political funding with the introduction of electoral bonds, are we being subjected to unprecedented levels of secret surveillance?
Electoral bonds were promised to be anonymous as no one other than the donors themselves are supposed to know which political party they are contributing to.
The Quint’s investigation reveals that while the public will remain clueless about who has donated to which party, the government has access to those details, collated through alphanumeric codes on the electoral bonds, which are invisible to the naked eye. This adds to the government’s already burgeoning repository of data, which now may not only have details of our bank accounts and financial transactions, but also our likely political preferences.
(The story was first published on Quint Hindi.)
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