Millennium Post

Jaitley defends Electoral bonds, asks opponents to suggest alternatives

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the electoral bond scheme saying if donors are forced to disclose their names, the system of political funding through cash and black money will return.

The Election Commission, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court which is hearing the matter, said electoral bonds have made political funding opaque and would have "serious repercussions on transparency of political funding", due to its anonymous nature. The government had in 2018 brought in the electoral bond scheme as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of its efforts to bring transparency in political funding. Under the scheme, the name of the donor is known only to banks.

"If you ask people to disclose that (identity of a donor) also, then I am afraid the cash system will be back," he said, adding people find fault with the scheme but not come up with any alternative to check the use of black money in the electoral process.

"There is a particular psychic of individuals, particularly in NGO sector, that they don't suggest a solution but they have a problem with every solution. The EC ... has also succeeded in many, many areas and became an extremely successful role model Election Commission. But money it has not been able to control, Jaitley said at the CII AGM here.

The minister, further said, in the earlier system identities of donors, intermediary, as well as the party receiving the fund were not known.

He regretted that people participating in this debate are finding flaws with the electoral bonds scheme but are not suggesting any alternative.

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