Finance Ministry deploys 261 expenditure observers for polls

New Delhi, March 27 (PTI): The Finance Ministry has deployed 261 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers across the country to keep a tab on expenses by candidates in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Of these IRS officers, 44 observers have been posted in Uttar Pradesh, 22 in Bihar, 12 in Gujarat, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, six in Assam, five in Haryana, two each in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, and one in Chhattisgarh.
Besides, 29 officers will keep a vigil on candidates’ expenditures in Tamil Nadu, 21 in Karnataka, 19 in West Bengal, 17 each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, 13 in Maharashtra, 11 in Jharkhand, nine each in Kerala and Punjab, five in Odisha, two in Manipur and one each in Nagaland, Delhi, Tripura and Uttarakhand, officials said.
There would be more expenditure observers from other central government services to keep a close watch on election expenditure of the candidates and to ensure that no inducement is offered to the electors during the entire election process for exercise of their
franchise.
The nine-phased Lok Sabha polls begin on April 7. Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim besides Assembly bye-elections in some states will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.
The Election Commission has this time raised the cap on spending by each candidate during Lok Sabha polls in bigger states to Rs 70 lakh from Rs 40 lakh. For smaller states, the cap will be Rs 54 lakh.
The country will spend over Rs 5,000 crore on the Lok Sabha polls, with around Rs 10 crore estimated to be spent on each constituency on an average, according to the EC.
Conduct of Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh will cost the exchequer Rs 1,000 crore, it said.