Election Commission proposes 10% hike in poll campaign expenditure cap

Context: The Election Commission (EC) has proposed a 10 per cent increase in the campaign expenditure limit for all future elections, by amending the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, given the constraints posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysis

  • The idea is to help candidates keep up with the increased expense warranted by safety measures announced for election campaigns in light of the Covid pandemic.

Background

  • The current expenditure limit for State and Parliament elections differs from State to State.
  • While Indian law stipulates no limit on election expenditure by political parties, there is a threshold for how much a candidate can spend on an election campaign.
     
  • As of now, the expenditure limit for each candidate is Rs 50 lakh-70 lakh for Lok Sabha elections and Rs 20 lakh-28 lakh for assembly polls.
  • For the first time, the ECI suspended the recognition of a political party (National People’s Party) for failing to submit its Lok Sabha expenditure statement incurred in 2014 which prompted the party to duly file its statement.

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