NT: Nepal: The Election Commission (EC) is to seek Rs 10.50 billion from the government to conduct the parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled in two phases for November 26 and December 7.
After analyzing the need for election materials and current market prices, the election body is preparing to ask the government to release Rs 10.50 billion for the upcoming elections. “We have estimated expenditures of Rs. 10.50 billion for the upcoming elections. The proposal prepared after assessing the election expenditures will be forwarded to the government soon,” said Mahesh Sharma, the EC’s planning chief.
The budget will be spent on purchasing election materials, deploying the materials and managing the elections. The expanses of the security agencies have not been included.
The government is spending a huge amount for holding the elections. The EC had spent Rs 7.29 billion and the security agencies over 11 billion to conduct the first and second phase local polls in the 69 districts in the six provinces. The third round of local elections is yet to be conducted in the eight districts of Province 2. The final round of local elections is scheduled for September 18. Both the EC and the security agencies have sought an additional Rs 1 billion each for holding these polls.
Even after allowing for inflation, Nepal’s elections are getting costlier in recent days. Poor poll preparations, irregularties and the additional incentives introduced for election staff have increased the expenditures for recent elections, according to election experts.
The EC had spent Rs 110 million to hold the legislative election of 1991, according to ‘Election Cost in Nepal’, a book written by current Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav. Likewise, another legislative election held in 1994 cost the EC Rs 240 million. A similar election was held in 1999 at a cost of Rs 360.6 million.
The cost increased drastically for the first Constitution Assembly (CA) election of 2008, where the election body spent Rs 2.9 billion. Likewise, the second CA election of 2013 was held at a cost of Rs 4.26 billion, excluding security expenses.