Expenditure limit for Assembly polls

Written By: / Friday, 14 January 2022 17:32

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Jan 14:

Even as Assembly elections are slated to be held in five states next month, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has raised the expenditure limit for candidates which would be Rs 40 lakh for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab and Rs.28 lakh in Goa and Manipur.
The limit has been raised from Rs 20 lakh-Rs 28 lakh to Rs 28 lakh-Rs 40 lakh for Assembly constituencies. These revised limits will be applicable in all upcoming elections. Similarly the expenditure limits for candidates have been enhanced from Rs 54 lakh-Rs 70 lakh to Rs 75 lakh-Rs 90 lakh for Parliamentary elections. These revised limits have been notified by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Legislative Department.
The last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates was carried out in 2014, which was further increased by 10 per cent in 2020. The same year, ECI also formed to study the cost factors and other related issues, and make suitable recommendations.
Election Expenditure Limit:
It is the amount an election candidate can legally spend for their election campaign and has to account for, which includes expenses on public meetings, rallies, advertisements, posters, banners, vehicles and advertisements.
Under Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act 1951, every candidate shall keep a separate and correct account of all expenditure incurred between the date on which they have been nominated and the date of declaration of the result. The candidates will be required to open a separate bank account to incur the election expenditure.
All candidates are required to submit their expenditure statement to the ECI within 30 days of the completion of the elections. An incorrect account or expenditure beyond the cap can lead to disqualification of the candidate by the ECI for up to three years, under Section 10A of RPA, 1951. The limit prescribed by the ECI is meant for legitimate expenditure because a lot of money in elections is spent for illegitimate purposes. It has often been argued that these limits are unrealistic as the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate is much higher.
The EC has also devised a model rate card for election expenditure:
PPE kit Rs 300/- per kit, Sanitizer (100 ML)-Rs 18/- per can, Sanitizer (500 ML)-Rs 67/-, Sanitizer (1000 ML)-Rs 130/-, Sanitizer (5000 ML)-Rs 600/-, Liquid sop-250 ML-Rs 55/-, Face shield-Rs 30/-, Rubber gloves-Rs 06/-per gloves, Thermal scanner-Rs 973/-.
Eatables: Tea-Rs 06/- per cup, Coffee-Rs 10/-, Mineral water-Rs 20 per bottle, Laddu-Rs 200 per kg, Farsan-Rs 180/- per kg and Biscuit-Rs 300/- per kg. The candidate can spend up to Rs 1100/- if they prefer to have havan/pooja.
There is no cap on a political party’s expenditure, which is often exploited by candidates of the party. However, all registered political parties have to submit a statement of their election expenditure to the ECI within 90 days of the completion of the elections.

About the Author

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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