EC hikes expenditure limits for candidates

The Election Commission on Thursday announced a hike in expenditure limit for candidates to Rs 95 lakh (up from Rs 70 lakh) for Lok Sabha elections, and Rs 40 lakh (up from Rs 28 lakh) for Assembly polls.
The Government’s decision is based on the poll panel’s recommendation.
The EC had formed a committee to study cost factors and other related issues, and subsequently make suitable recommendations. The committee invited suggestions from political parties, Chief Electoral Officers and election observers, and found that there has been a substantial increase in the number of electors and Cost Inflation Index since 2014.
It also factored in the changing modes of campaigning, which is gradually shifting to virtual mode. Candidates in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur can now go for increased poll expenditure.
For Assembly elections, the revised expenditure limit for candidates is Rs 40 lakh for big States, up from Rs 28 lakh. Candidates in smaller States can spend a maximum Rs 28 lakh instead of the earlier limit of Rs 20 lakh. The new expenditure limits will be applicable in all upcoming polls, the EC said.
The EC said in a statement: “Having regard to demand from political parties to raise existing election expenditure limit for candidates and increase in electors from 2014 to 2021 from 834 million to 936 million (up by 12.23%) and rise in Cost Inflation Index from 2014-15 to 2021-22 from 240 to 317 (up by 32.08%), the Committee furnished its recommendations to enhance the ceiling limit. The Commission has accepted recommendations of the Committee and decided to enhance the existing election expenditure limit for candidates.”
On Thursday, the EC also held a meeting with Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to review the current status of Covid-19. “Inputs were taken of medical experts on safety measures to be ensured and the Commission emphasised to the Health Secretary to ensure vaccination to all eligible persons,” an EC official said.
On Wednesday, the EC reviewed poll preparedness in election-bound Manipur, wrapping up its pre-poll exercise of reviewing all five Assembly election-bound States. During the review meeting, the Commission emphasised focus on conduct of safe elections with 100-per cent vaccination of all polling staff, proper sanitisation and social distancing at polling stations.
                    The Indian Express