The government on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that electoral bonds worth Rs 9,208.24 crore have been purchased by eligible individuals and entities. The Electoral Bond Scheme 2018, was notified by the government on January 2, 2018.
Citing data provided by the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance, Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh said that "so far, (till completion of the XIX phase) electoral bonds amounting to Rs 9,208.24 crore" have been purchased from the authorised bank, State Bank of India, by eligible individuals and entities.
Under the provisions of Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013, companies, other than government companies and those less than three years old, are allowed directly or indirectly to contribute to any political party with the approval of their respective board of directors.
"Such companies shall have to disclose in its profit and loss account the total amount contributed by them during the financial year to which the account relates and the name of the party is not required to be disclosed. Therefore, political party wise data is not maintained," the minister said in a written reply.
Singh, who is the Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, was responding to a query about the total amount contributed to political parties by companies in the last three years.
The minister also said electoral bonds can be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. Also, a person being an individual can buy bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
"Accordingly, no electoral bonds are issued to foreign entities," he added.
To a query on the steps taken by the government to counter the negative verdicts received in international arbitrations, Singh said the government is taking all appropriate legal steps to protect its interests.
According to him, the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 passed by Parliament recently has led to reduction in such ongoing litigations.
"As per the information received from the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, in cases where Republic of India has received adverse awards in international investment arbitration, the government is engaging counsels with relevant experience for setting aside of the award and for handling enforcement proceedings wherever applicable," he said in another reply.
In a separate reply, the minister said no rules have been notified for direct listing of securities on foreign stock exchanges as of now.
"Section 5 of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020 (amending Section 23 of the Companies Act, 2013) has not yet been brought into force," he added.