The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday wrote to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asking to increase the weekly cash withdrawal limit for candidates in the five poll-bound states to Rs 2 lakh from the current Rs 24,000 per week.
The EC has proposed to the RBI to increase the weekly cash withdrawal limit so that the candidates contesting the assembly elections can meet their expenses incurred during the campaign. The website of the poll panel says that a candidate contesting the elections from bigger states cannot spend more than Rs 16 lakh on their campaign while the limit is set at Rs 8 lakh for smaller states like Goa.
But the central government agreed to increase the expenditure on election campaigns from Rs 16 lakh to Rs 28 lakh in 2014. However, the updated information is not mentioned in the poll panel's website.
President Pranab Mukherjee, in his address to the nation on Wednesday, asked the poll panel to check the viability of carrying out the assembly polls for the Lok Sabha and the assembly seats simultaneously.
The president had also spoke about the issue of demonetisation and said: "Our economy has been performing well despite the challenging global economic conditions... Demonetisation, while immobilising black money and fighting corruption may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity. As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address on November 8 last year, had declared that the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would stand invalid from midnight. He gave the citizens of the country 50 days to exchange or deposit the old demonetised notes. However, the date was later extended till March, 2017.
The five states of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh will be going to polls next month. The counting will begin on March 8 while the results of the polls in all states will be declared on March 11.