The country’s slowing economy could receive a Rs10,000 crore stimulus from election spending—though some of this will be in violation of the rules laid down by the Election Commission (EC) of India. According to a study by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), a New Delhi-based research firm, almost half the spending will be outside the limits prescribed by EC.
The CMS estimate for spending by political parties and candidates during the elections, which started on 16 April, is double the amount that was spent in the 2004 polls and five times that in 1996.
Campaign accessories: Pappu Bhai ‘electionwallah’ with an assortment of election goodies at his shop in Sadar Bazar, New Delhi. According to research firm Centre for Media Studies, the estimate for spending by political parties and candidates during the election is double the amount that was spent in the 2004 polls and five times that in 1996. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Data provided by CMS shows spending on elections has steadily accelerated, coinciding with the diminishing influence of the two main national parties—the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. One-fifth of the spending is expected to be on advertising—across print and electronic media—and poll surveys, while 30% will go towards hiring vehicles and aircraft, and paying salaries of party workers during the 75-day-long campaign.
The rest of the money will be spent on activities not allowed by EC, including payouts to individual voters.
This expenditure, however, does not include the spending on elections to the state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim, which are being held simultaneously. In addition, the Union and state governments will spend around Rs2,000 crore on conducting the elections, according to CMS.
Mint looks at some sectors which are likely to be the biggest gainers of the great Indian elections and how the “business of elections” provides a stimulus to even a sagging economy.
Compiled by Mint reporters