(G.N.S) Dt. 16
The cost of holding the Karnataka assembly elections in April-May more than doubles to over Rs 500 crore. In 2013, the expenditure was around Rs 240 crore. This included Rs 80 crore for police security. Contrary to the perception that the spending on poll machinery could be a marginal increase when compared to the 2013 assembly polls, sources in the Election Commission estimate the cost to touch Rs 500 crore this time.
When contacted by media, Karnataka chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar declined to talk about the increase in cost. However, he said: “It’ll be higher this time as there are new components to ensure the polls are transparent and fair.” Sources said the civil expenditure will be around Rs 300 crore. The spike is attributed to rising costs of poll-related consumables. The civil expenditure comprises conducting voter awareness campaigns, remuneration for polling personnel and appointment of election observers.
Introduction of VVPAT machines adds to the cost
The expenditure increases as voter population has touched 4.9 crore (from 4.36 crore in 2013) and 2,800 new polling stations will be added,” a source said. On police security, sources said the amount is estimated to be between Rs 100 crore and Rs140 crore.
The Election Commission fixed the honorarium to be paid for central and state armed forces roped in for poll duty at Rs 2,500 for officers, Rs 2,000 for subordinates and Rs 1,500 for other ranks on election duty of 15 days or less. If the duty period exceeds 15 days, the amount will be increased by an additional Rs 1,250, Rs 1,000 and Rs 750 per week for the three categories.
Overheads up in 2018
The additional expenses this time will be for induction of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines which help ascertain the votehas been registered to the intended candidate. “We require around Rs 40 crore for the VVPAT system. We’ll have to deploy one person to carry a VVPAT machine as it weighs around 22 kg which means additional cost,” an EC source said.
Rules on sharing cost of deployment of paramilitary forces for poll duty have been changed.
“Now, the cost of deployment of central forces has to be fully borne by the state government for assembly elections. The honorarium for central forces will be around Rs 50 crore,” sources said.
(G.N.S) Dt. 16