07 Jan 2018 15:30 IST

Electoral bonds will cleanse political funding system: Jaitley

'To inject clean money into political funding, improve transparency'

Putting his weight behind the recently launched electoral bond scheme as an ideal option for political funding, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday this scheme envisages "total clean money" and was a "substantial improvement" in transparency over the present system of no-transparency.

Electoral bonds will cleanse the political funding system by permitting only clean money in donations and all the transactions would be through banking instruments, Jaitley said in a blogpost titled "Why electoral bonds are necessary".

It may be recalled that Jaitley had this past week tabled in Parliament the new Electoral Bond Scheme, which was first announced in Budget 2017-18.

In his blogpost, Jaitley highlighted that India had not been able to evolve a transparent political funding system, despite strengthening various institutions for the last seven decades.

"The present system (taking donations in cash) ensures unclean money coming from unidentifiable sources. It is a wholly non-transparent system", he said.

While the Government was open to consider all suggestions to further strengthen the cleansing of political funding in India, it has to be borne in mind that impractical suggestions will not improve the cash denominated system, Jaitley said. "They would only consolidate it", he said.

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

"While all three methods involve clean money, the first two are totally transparent and the electoral bonds scheme is a substantial improvement in terms of transparency over the present system of no-transparency", he said.