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LS Polls 2014: Total campaign cost will touch Rs 3,500 crore this year
The Election Commission has estimated that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will cost the exchequer Rs 3,500 crore. That’s about 150% more than the amount spent for the 2009 polls (Rs 1,400 crore). This does not include the expenses incurred for security and the amount political parties will spend.
“Every state will send the expenditure statements to the Centre for reimbursement. The Union law ministry will peruse the statements and reimburse the states. The EC’s preliminary estimate for this Lok Sabha election is around Rs 3,500 crore. The final amount may be more or less,” an EC official said on condition of anonymity.
The costs have gone up since 2009 due to inflation and the EC running a number of awareness campaigns. Over the last few years, it has been trying to draw more voters, digitise electoral rolls and prevent buying of votes, especially in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, said the official. “The expenses have increased in the last five years. Six months before polling, EC starts campaigns across the country asking people to enroll. We release advertisements, visit places and stage street plays. After the rolls are finalised, they are digitised,” he said.
Other expenses include payment of honorarium to officials who are involved in election related work. “The officials are paid for attending training sessions and for their travel. We also conduct campaigns and videograph polling and campaigns of political parties. These measures have increased the expenses manifold in recent times,” the official said. Another major expense is preventing parties from distributing cash to voters. This is prevalent in Tamil Nadu and AP, he said.
The first general election held in 1952 cost the exchequer Rs 10.45 crore. The parliamentary election in India is the biggest democratic exercise in the world.
Security expenses are borne by the respective state governments during the Lok Sabha elections, said Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar. “The expenses are on the rise due to increasing use of electronic equipment. We use technology from the stage of enrolling voters to the counting exercise. The honorarium paid to officials is rising for every election,” he said.
Cost of democracy
Year Cost (in Rs cr)