Govt raises expenditure cap for Parliamentary, Assembly polls

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2014 Published on February 28, 2014

Keeping the general elections ahead in mind, the Government has approved a hike in poll expenditure limit and successive double digit hike in dearness allowances/dearness relief for Central Government employees and pensioners.

These two are among the 30 decisions taken by the Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Friday. Many more such decisions are expected before the poll announcements next week.

But the Cabinet deferred taking up the anti-graft ordinances which were being pushed by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The ordinances on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill and the Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill were on the agenda but not taken up.

The Cabinet is expected to meet again soon to consider ordinances that include five anti-corruption measures and welfare measures for the disabled.

It will also consider for restoring powers to SEBI to act against Ponzi and illegal deposit schemes. Citing increase in cost inflation as one of the reason, the Cabinet approved hiking the expenditure limit for candidates contesting Parliamentary and Assembly polls.

In States including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra, expenditure limit for Parliamentary elections has been raised to ₹70 lakh from current ceiling of ₹40 lakh. It will go up from the present ₹22 lakh in smaller states like Goa to ₹54 lakh on par with other hilly and north eastern States.

Similarly, in case of Assembly constituencies, the maximum limit has been increased to ₹28 lakh in all States except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Puducherry where it will be ₹20 lakh. Currently, the limit for bigger and smaller States is ₹14 lakh and ₹8 lakh, respectively.

“This (revision) is due to the increase in the number of electors, polling stations as well as the increase in the cost inflation index,” a statement issued after Cabinet meeting said.

In an effort to give relief to its serving and retired employees, the Centre approved 10 per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief (DR).

This will be applicable from January 1, but will come with salary for March. With this, DA/DR is now equal to 100 per cent of basic pay.

The Cabinet gave its nod for setting up a new rail coach manufacturing unit at Kolar, Karnataka to manufacture 500 coaches every year. The estimated cost, excluding cost of land, will be ₹1,461 crore.

The Railway Ministry will finance 50 per cent of the cost while the State Government will provide the required land, free of cost as well as meet the remaining 50 per cent of the project completion cost with escalation. Over 1,100 acres will be provided by the State Government. It has also been decided to set up four National Institutes of Design at Jorhat (Assam), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) and Kurukshetra (Haryana).

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Published on February 28, 2014
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