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prelims Test Series 2019
2014 General Elections: Most-Expensive Polls
May 17, 2014

Recently held Lok Sabha elections was the most expensive elections entailing a cost of Rs. 3426 crore to the National Exchequer, a substantial jump of 131% over the expenses incurred in 2009. In the last Lok Sabha polls five years back, the cost to the exchequer was Rs. 1483.

The official expenses are part of the whopping Rs. 30,000 crore that were projected to be spent by the government, political parties and candidates in the nine-phased polls.

The Election Commission attributed the jump in official expenses inflation besides a series of measures undertaken to increase voting figures for the substantial rise in poll expenditure. Several political parties have jumped into electoral fray and even the number of Independents contesting polls have increased. The more the candidates the more the expenditure. Voter awareness campaigns, distribution of voter slip ahead of election date, use of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail for the first time in these polls pushed the expenditure further.

According to the Election Commission, the cost of conducting the general elections had already witnessed a 20-fold increase in 2009 as against the first polls held in 1952. In 1952, the cost was 60 paise per elector which became Rs. 12 in 2009.  Considering expenditure in absolute terms, Rs.10.45 crore was spent in 1952, while Rs 1483 crore was the amount government spent for 2009 polls.

In first six Lok Sabha polls, cost per elector was less than a rupee, but subsequent elections saw a massive hike in election expenditure.  The entire expenditure on actual conduct of elections to Lok Sabha is borne by the Centre. But, expenditure towards law and order maintenance is taken care of by respective state governments. 

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