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In January of this year, the Finance Ministry decided to delay the sale of electoral bonds from the usual first half of the month to the second half in order to align it more closely with the elections in three Northeastern states. This information was obtained from official documents accessed under RTI.

Elections took place in Tripura on February 16, and in Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27.

The Scheme allows for 10-day sales windows in January, April, July, and October, with additional 15- and 30-day windows during the years of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

According to documents from the Department of Economic Affairs, transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh K. Batra discovered that officials initially suggested a sale period from January 1-10 in line with the “existing practice.”

On December 21, 2022, Deputy Director Mamta noted that the issuance of electoral bonds typically occurs in the first 10 days of the quarter, without specific dates in the scheme notification.

The file was then sent to the Finance Minister for approval the following day. However, on December 23, 2022, Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth recommended delaying the sale until later in the month.

Seth explained, “Elections in three Northeastern states may be held in February. Instead of issuing electoral bonds in the first 10 days of January as usual, we propose issuing them from January 19-28, closer to the elections.” The sale window was ultimately opened from January 19 to January 28.

During the campaigning in October 2020, the sale window for electoral bonds was shifted to October 19-28.

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