The Election Commission has set up a committee to examine the issue of revising the expenditure limit for candidates for Lok Sabha and assembly polls in view of the increase in number of electors and rise in Cost Inflation Index.
Expenditure limit for candidates was last revised in 2014. For Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the limit was enhanced in 2018.
“In last six years, the limit was not increased despite an increase in electorate from 834 million to 910 million in 2019 to 921 million now. Further, Cost Inflation Index during this period has increased from 220 to 280 in 2019 to 301 now,” the commission said in a statement on Wednesday.
The committee comprising former DG Investigations Harish Kumar and EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha will assess the change in number of electors across the states and union territories and its bearing on expenditure.
It has also been mandated to assess the change in Cost Inflation Index and its bearing on the pattern of expenditure incurred by the candidates in recent elections.
The panel will seek views and inputs of political parties and other stakeholders, and will examine other factors which may have bearings on expenditure.
The committee will submit its report within four months of its constitution, the EC said.
Considering the the difficulties candidates will face in campaigning amid COVID-19, based on the recommendations of the EC, the government had on Monday enhanced the existing expenditure limit by 10 per cent.
The 10 per cent hike will be applicable with immediate effect in ongoing elections in Bihar and various assembly and one Lok Sabha bypolls.
The maximum limit for candidates differs from state to state. While it is more in larger states it is different for smaller states.
After the Law Ministry notification of Monday, in bigger states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and Haryana, the maximum expenditure a candidate can incur for campaigning in Lok Sabha polls is now Rs 77 lakh. So far it was Rs 70 lakh. For assemblies, it has been hiked from Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30.8 lakh.