ECI Committee on Expenditure Limit
Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has constituted a committee to examine the issues concerning the expenditure limit for a candidate.
Money is bound to play an important part in the successful pursuit of an election campaign. Discuss
About the Committee
● Members of the Committee: The committee comprises Harish Kumar (Ex.IRS) and Umesh Sinha(DG-Expenditure).
● Terms of Reference: The committee will have following terms of reference:-
● To assess the change in number of electors across the States/Union Territories and its bearing on expenditure.
● To assess the change in Cost Inflation Index and its bearing on the pattern of expenditure incurred by the candidates in recent elections.
● To seek views/inputs of the political parties and other stakeholders.
● To examine other factors which may have bearings on expenditure.
● Expenditure Limit: Election Commission of India imposes limits on the expenditure incurred by a candidate, but not political parties on their election campaign.
● Range: The expenditure limits range from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 28 lakh for assembly elections and from Rs. 54 lakh to Rs.70 lakh for Lok Sabha elections.
● Earlier Revision: The expenditure limit was last revised in 2014 while the same was done for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2018, following their bifurcation in 2014.
● After that, the limit has not been increased despite an increase in the electorate and an increase in the Cost Inflation Index.
Reason for review:
● 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.
● Cost Inflation Index during this period has increased from 220 to 280 in 2019 to 301 now.
Need for ceiling on expenditures
● Level Playing field:- Limits on campaign expenditure are meant to provide a level-playing field for everyone contesting elections. It ensures that a candidate can’t win only because he/she is rich.
● The 255th Report of the Law Commission on electoral reforms argued that unregulated or under-regulated election financing could lead to “lobbying and capture, where a sort of quid pro quo transpires between big donors and political parties/candidates”
Recommendations by Law Commission in its 255th Report:
● Limits on political contribution and party candidate expenditure.
● Disclosure norms and requirements.
● State funding of elections.
These recommendations of the Law Commission are under consideration of the government.