Electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.
"The State Bank of India (SBI), in the VII Phase of sale of Electoral Bonds, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches w.e.f. January 01 – 10, 2019, "the ministry said in a statement.
Electoral bonds aggregating to Rs 1,056.73 crore were purchased by citizens or entities till the completion of sixth phase of issuance of electoral bonds in November 2018.
The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities like New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Patna, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.
The government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme in January this year.
As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
The sale of first batch of electoral bonds took place from March 1-10, 2018.
SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds. A person can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly, with other individuals.
An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.
The bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.