NEW DELHI: Election Commission on Wednesday set up a three-member committee to review the expenditure limit for candidates in Lok Sabha/assembly polls in the long term, with the number of electors in the country having increased by 1.1 times and
cost inflation index
up 1.37 times between 2014, when the limit was last revised, and 2020.
The committee- comprising ex-IRS officer Harish Kumar who had served as DG (Investigation), EC secretary general Umesh Sinha and DG (Expenditure)- will "examine the issues concerning expenditure limit for a candidate in view of increase in number of electors and rise in cost inflation index and other factors," the EC said in a statement. It has been asked to submit a report to the EC within 120 days.
"In last 6 years the limit was not increased despite 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," EC said on Wednesday.
TOI was the first to report on September 11, on EC's plans to set up a panel to review the candidate's poll spending limit in the long term.
As per the terms of reference of the committee, it will assess the change in number of electors and its bearing on poll expenditure; assess the change in cost inflation index and its bearing on pattern of expenditure incurred by parties and candidates in recent elections; seek views of parties and other stakeholders on the issue; and examine other factors having bearing on expenditure and any other related issue.
The setting up of the panel by EC comes a day after the law ministry, acting on a recommendation made by the poll panel in view of the additional expenditure likely to be incurred by the candidates on keeping their campaigns Covid-safe, hiked the poll spending limit for candidates for all parliamentary and assembly polls by 10%. As per the revised limits, the highest ceiling for poll spending by candidates for Lok Sabha poll is Rs 77 lakh and for assembly poll, Rs 30.8 lakh.
Expenditure limit for a candidate was last revised in 2014 vide notification dated 28.02.2014, while in respect of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana it was revised vide notification dated 10.10.2018.