Capital

Poll costs to exceed Rs 20b

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 14, 2017-The government’s expenditure for the federal and provincial elections is likely to cross Rs20 billion based on the demand for funds from the security agencies and the Election Commission.

Security agencies have sought around Rs11 billion for mobilising personnel for the polls to be held on November 26 and December 7. With the EC also already seeking Rs10.53 billion, spending for the two crucial elections is likely to cross Rs20 billion.

According to a Finance Ministry official, releasing the budget to the Home Ministry is in process. “Rs5 billion has already been released for mobilising temporary police personnel whose training is ongoing,” said Kewal Prasad Bhandari, chief of the budget division at the Finance Ministry. The government has recruited 98,268 temporary police personnel for 45 days. According to Home Ministry Spokesperson Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, the major costs are for deployment of temporary police, allowance for security officials deployed, and transportation of election materials. The ministry plans to rent most of the vehicles for the purpose.

The EC has already received Rs5 billion from the Finance Ministry. “The additional amount will be given as per the demand,” said an official at the ministry. The EC, however, is yet to seek additional funds.

As the EC is holding two elections together, its costs are expected to run relatively higher than earlier elections. This time around, more personnel will be mobilised and more materials such as ballot papers supplied.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on October 25 for printing separate ballot papers for the federal and provincial polls, the EC has not only been forced to buy 100 tonnes of paper extra, voter education materials already printed have also been wasted. According to the EC, publicity materials worth around Rs100 million had to be dumped.

The total cost of holding the three phases of local level elections was around Rs20 billion. The poll authority had then spent around Rs8 billion while around Rs12 billion had been released to the security agencies.

Along with the rise in spending by individual candidates, poll expenditure by state agencies is also ballooning. In 2013, around Rs16 billion was spent for the second Constituent Assembly elections in total while that for the first CA vote totalled Rs5.15 billion.

Demand for poll budget

Home Ministry  Rs10 billion

Defence Ministry  Rs 900 million

Election Commission Rs10.53billion

Published: 14-11-2017 08:29

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