Election budget 2019
India, the worlds biggest democracy and Asia’s 3rd largest economy will be soon holding the 2019 General Elections, scheduled in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th LokSabha. Counting of votes is planned to commence on 23 May, where results are declared the same day. With about 8000 candidates fighting for 545 seats. Over 90- 100 crore people are expected to be participating in the democratic process with 10 lakh polling booths, set up across the nation
To conduct an exercise of such scale and magnitude, it must cost the government a hefty sum. The entire expenditure of the conduct of Lok Sabha elections is borne by the Government of India. Along with the cost incurred by the government, every political party candidate is doing his/her best to lure the voters with either promise or by spending all the might they can, as the competition among parties and candidates looks tough and intense.
Note that the Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the general election. In the case of independent state assembly elections, the respective state government pays for the expenses of conducting polls.
How much did 2014 elections cost the Govt of India:
The data compiled by the Election Commission of India (ECI) has projected the provisional expenditure of the 2014 Lok Sabha election to be Rs 3,870 crore. This is the maximum expenditure incurred by the government on conducting elections to date.
The cost of conducting general elections had already witnessed a 20-fold increase in 2009 as against the first polls held in 1952, according to the election commission.
About 2019 Elections& the Political party spends:
This 2019 election is likely to be one of the costliest elections in the world spanning from the mighty Himalayan range in North, Thar&Sundarbans in West & East & Indian ocean in the South, which lasts for as long as a six-week period.
The polling exercises conducted during this period is estimated to cost around 7 billion USD (50,000 crores). Note that the US presidential races in 2016, was estimated at a 6.5 USD cost.
There is a 40% rise in spending from the 2014 parliamentary vote is estimated per person at a cost of 8 $ per voter. It exceeds the average income of a householder that stands at a $3 a day.
Social Media Spends tops them all
Spending on social media campaigns by political party leaders is huge along with spending on transportation for campaigning.
While there is a cap for a candidate on spends, there isn’t any, for a political party, that lets them spend unrestricted amounts to lure the voters in the form of gifting’s, cash, alcohol, or other personal goods. Electronic goods are ideally gifted to voters to get them to favor a party the election season. Food (handing out biryani packets to a voter) is yet another crowd pleaser of this season.
Spending on Advertising:
As much as 26 billion rupees are spent on advertising on TVC’s and Print media. This budget is double to that of in 2014; In Feb alone, a whopping 40. million is spent on “Namo Again” campaign on Facebook.
On a conclusion, along with what it costs the government to conduct elections, reaching the rural most areas and providing facilities for a peaceful exercise, Political parties spend whopping amounts and do all they can, to win the elections. Let’s hope for the strongest and the honest party to win and hope that the election budget will not disturb the already fluctuating economy.