From 6 paise to Rs 46: Poll expense per elector.
How much does the Election Commission spend on holding the Lok Sabha elections? In 2014, it spent about Rs 46 per elector. Compare it with just 6 paise it spent per elector in 1952 on India’s first general elections.
In 2014, it spent a total of Rs 3,870 crore on polls. In 1952, the expenditure was just Rs 10 crore. Expenditure on the 2014 elections saw a big jump over the previous elections in 2009 when the commission spent about Rs 15 per elector. This expenditure does not include money spent by political parties and by the government on security measures.
The cost went up since 2009 due to the commission running a number of awareness campaigns. Six months before polling, the commission starts campaigns across the country asking people to enroll. It also releases a large number of advertisements. After the rolls are finalised, they have to be digitised.
Other expenses include payment of honorarium to officials who are involved in election related work. The officials are paid for attending training sessions and travelling. It also conducts campaigns and videographs polling and campaigns of political parties. These measures have increased the expenses manifold.
According to a US-based expert, the 2019 general elections in India would be the most expensive in Indian history and perhaps one of the most expensive ever held in any democratic country. The parliamentary election in India is the biggest democratic exercise in the world.
“The combined US presidential and congressional elections in 2016 cost USD 6.5 billion. If the 2014 Lok Sabha elections cost an estimated USD 5 billion, there is little doubt the 2019 election will easily surpass that – making India’s elections the world’s most expensive,” Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank told PTI last month.