Election fiesta warrants additional Tk 781cr this year
Asif Showkat Kallol || BusinessInsider
Election Commission (EC) logo.
The Election Commission (EC) is soliciting an additional Tk 781 crore to organise ensuing Upazilla and city corporation elections during the incumbent fiscal year.
It could not be known, though the polls are routine state mandates, why the government did not allocate beforehand the estimated amount that now could put the exchequer under pressure!
The allocation for EC for the ongoing 2021-22 FY was set at Tk 1,163.40 crore which is expected to get revised to Tk 1,944.85 crore, up by 67.17 percent, officials said.
The Commission has already sent a memo to the finance ministry asking for the fund, a finance ministry official confirmed.
The official explained that the major part of the EC outlay was expanded due to procurement of the electronic voting machines (EVM).
The Commission also spent a large fund on the National Identity Cards project and several thousand local councils and grassroots elections.
A revised budget outlay meeting will be held next week to finalise the incremental budget.
Sources in the finance division claimed that the Election Commission may not need this additional fund as there is no possibility of holding the national election this fiscal year.
The EC budget for 2020-21 was aggregated at Tk 1,230 crore.
The EC procured some 2,535 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at an expense of Tk 48.91 crore in this fiscal year. And then, the Commission has to pay Tk 18.91 crore for printing ballot papers and other leaflets and making some National Identity Cards for citizens who turned adult.
Although the EC knew they would be holding elections this year, they had allocated Tk 1055.59 crore for different development projects to improve the election management system across the country.
"We have decided to raise outlay as per demand of expenditure of this fiscal year, parliamentary by-elections, local councils and local elections," said EC secretary Md. Humayun Kabir Khandaker.
He said if the EC does not receive the fund in time, conducting elections could be mismanaged.