Ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the government on Thursday approved the issuance of 22nd tranche of electoral bonds that will be sold on October 1. Electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency to political funding. SBI in the 22nd phase of sale has been authorized to issue and issue electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches from October 1 -- 10, the finance ministry said in a statement. The authorised SBI branches include Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur and Mumbai. Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are likely to be announced in a few weeks. The 21st tranche of bond sales took place on July 1 -- 10, 2022. The sale of the first batch of electoral bonds took place on March 1 -- 10, 2018. SBI is the only bank that can issue electoral bonds. An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issuance. The statement said that no payment would be made to any political party if the bond is deposited after the expiry of the validity period. Electoral bonds can be purchased by Indian citizens or entities that are incorporated or established in the country. Political parties that have secured less than 1 per cent of the votes in the last Lok Sabha or legislative assembly election are eligible to receive funding through electoral bonds.