The expenditure incurred on conducting Lok Sabha polls has gone up nearly 84 times from Rs 10.45 crore in 1952 to approximately Rs 846.67 crore in 2009, according to data put together by the government. The figures for 2009 are provisional, based on duly audited expenditure from 17 states.
As per poll expenditure figures compiled by Press Information Bureau, the first general election in 1952 cost the government more than the subsequent polls in 1957 and 1962. While Rs 5.9 crore was spent on 1957 polls, Rs 7.32 crore was released by the government in 1962 towards electoral offices, preparation and printing of electoral roll etc. The expenditure went up further to Rs 10.79 crore in 1967 and Rs 11.61 crore in 1971 polls. From 1977 onwards, the expenditure on each subsequent election more than doubled, shooting up to Rs 23.04 crore in 1977 and then Rs 54.77 crore in 1980. In 1984, the polls cost the government Rs 81.51 crore. This was the last time the figure stood at under Rs 100 crore.
Though the figures from 1989 onwards are provisional, they reflect the rising trend of poll spending by the government. So, while 1989 polls cost the government over Rs 154 crore, this expenditure shot up to nearly Rs 359 crore in 1991 and to Rs 597 crore and Rs 666 crore in 1996 and 1998 polls respectively. In 1999, poll spending came close to breaching the Rs 1,000-crore mark, with the provisional expenditure incurred on this general election working out to nearly Rs 948 crore.
More recently, in 2004 general election, the government spending touched almost Rs 1,114 crore (based on duly audited expenditure from 23 states), with Rs 679 crore released on provisional basis to 30 states. The cost of 2009 polls is shown at Rs 847 crore, of which Rs 840 crore was released to 35 states and UTs on a provisional basis.
The entire expenditure on conduct of elections to Lok Sabha is borne by the Centre and the expenditure on state polls held independently, by the respective states. If simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assembly are held, such expenditure is shared between Centre and the respective state governments.