Op Rawat

Former CEC O P Rawat. (Image source: The Indian Express)

Former CEC recommends a monitor that is objective to examine election bonds

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Then-Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat stated that the political fundraising plan may be enhanced by appointing a “independent watchdog” five years after the Union government implemented the electoral bond scheme in 2018, despite some objections from the Election Commission (EC).

The only bank permitted to sell the bonds, the State Bank of India, maintains donor data, which could be examined by a watchdog, according to Rawat. The watchdog would then annually report to Parliament.

“An impartial watchdog that can give a certificate to Parliament every year that this information was not shared anywhere, it is accurate and that it confirms no foreign funding and no shell companies have used the electoral bond route,” Rawat suggested. Though, “any policing arrangement can be vulnerable to pressures”, he added.

The first tranche of bonds under the electoral bond scheme were issued on March 1, 2018, despite the EC’s worries about the funding’s opacity. While Rawat was an Election Commissioner in 2017, the EC was made aware of the proposal, and the poll panel quickly wrote to the law ministry to express its concerns.

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