Elections Amid Pandemic: Government hiked the Election Expenditure Limit

The central government have increased the election campaign expenditure limit of the candidates by 10%. This norm will be applicable on all future elections. The announcement was made on October 19, 2020 ahead of Bihar Assembly Elections 2020.

Highlights

  • The Union Ministry of Law and Justice notified the amendment to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. The campaign expenditure limit has been specified under Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules.
  • The Ministry have cited thee difficulty being amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the hike.
  • Election campaign expenditure limit was increased last time before the 2014 lok Sabha Election.
  • Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 will be the first to benefit from this amendment.
  • Expenditure limit for the state polls have been increased to Rs 30.8 lakh from Rs 28 lakh.

Background

The election commision had issued guidelines for election campaigning amid a pandemic. The guidelines had capped the size of the campaign squad to three people for door-to-door visits. Further, It only allowed five cars in roadshow instead of 10 as usually used.  Further, the parties cited that the pandemic will increase the spending on masks, PPE kits, soap, sanitizers, and thermal screening during campaigning. Thus, the parties had requested for increasing the expenditure.  All the parties had also requested that more expenditure will be required for  ‘digital campaign’ as it is costlier than the normal campaign.