With crucial State Assembly Elections coming up in five states of the country, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has revised and enhanced the limits of candidate’s expenses in an Assembly Constituency to Rs 28 lakh and Rs 40 lakh per candidate, depending on the size of the state.This has been increased from Rs 20 lakh and Rs 28 lakh from the last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates which was carried out in 2014; it will be applied to both the states and the Union Territories for all upcoming elections until further notice is made.
The commission also enhanced the expense limits for Parliamentary Constituencies from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 95 lakh and Rs 54 lakh to Rs 75 depending on the size of the state.
As per the notification by the Election Commission of India, the limit for candidate’s expenses in respect of Manipur for the state assembly election has been set at Rs 28 lakh, raised from Rs 20 lakh in the previous election; the limit for Parliamentary Constituency has been set at Rs 95 lakh.
A notice by the ECI stated that the last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates was carried out in 2014, which was further increased by 10% in 2020. Simultaneously, the Election Commission formed a committee comprised of Harish Kumar, retd. IRS Officer, Umesh Sinha, Secretary General and Chandra Bhushan Kumar, Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India to study the cost factors and other related issues, and make suitable recommendations.
The Committee invited suggestions from political parties, Chief Electoral Officers and Election Observers. Committee found that there has been an increase in the number of electors and Cost Inflation Index since 2014 substantially. It also factored into the changing modes of campaigning, which is gradually shifting to virtual campaigns, the ECI stated.
The Commission further stated that 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 the recommendations of the Committee and has decided to enhance the existing election expenditure limit for candidates. Accordingly, revised limits have now been notified by M/O Law, Justice and Legislative Department, the ECI stated.