Zarif Mahmud : The cost of the 12th National Assembly election is increasing to more than Tk 2,276 crore. Increase in spending on Polling Officers allowance, polling materials etc. increases the total expenditure. Initially, the budget allocation for organizing the election was Tk 1 thousand 454 crore 49 lakh 67 thousand. Two-thirds of it was kept for maintaining law and order. However, the cost of organizing elections has increased a lot. Additional allocation has also been given for this.
EC (Election Commission) officials said that the possible cost of the twelfth parliamentary elections has been estimated at around Tk 2,276.22 crore. Out of this, according to the demands of the law and order forces, the possible expenditure has been estimated at Tk 1,225.62 crore. And the possible expenditure in the election management sector has been estimated at Tk 1,050.60 crore. Although the budget for the 11th National Assembly election was Tk 700 crore. According to this, the expenditure in the 12th National Parliament election has increased almost one hundred and three times.
66 Returning Officers, 592 Assistant Returning Officers, nearly 3000 Executive Magistrates and more than 1000 Judicial Magistrates have been engaged in this election organized for 11.97 million voters. Besides, there are about 9 lakh manpower to perform duties as polling officers. Along with this, around eight lakh law enforcement and armed forces personnel have been deployed. 300 Election Investigation Committees have been appointed for 300 constituencies, where judicial magistrates have been assigned the responsibility.
As the number of voters, polling stations and polling booths increased in 2024 compared to the 11th Parliament of 2018, polling officers, election officials, members of the law and order forces, and election equipment including ballot papers have to be managed more. Moreover, the extent of deployment of law and order forces has been increased from 10 days to 13 days. The allocation of energy and transport sector has also increased along with the honorarium of the election officials.
On December 29, under the guidance of the EC, members of various forces went to the field. They will stay till January 10. Magistrates came before him. Although earlier each army would enter the field at a different time so the cost would be less.
This is the first time in the history of the parliamentary election of Bangladesh that the presiding-polling officer and the officials engaged in the election will be given two days’ honorarium. As a result, more than twice as much money is being spent this year as compared to previous elections. In this election, the cost per seat is more than seven and a half crore rupees. EC officials say that the demand for additional expenditure has been sent to the Finance Ministry. In the meantime, they have also started allotment, which has been distributed among the DCs of different districts.
According to the information, the Presiding Officer will get Tk 4,000, Assistant Presiding Officer Tk 3,000 and Polling Officer Tk 2,000 each for one day of election duty. Besides, they will all get Tk 1000 per additional person for travel fare. Besides, Tk 800 will be paid for each polling station for secret voting room and fence.
In addition to the transportation of the assistant officers of the returning officer for fetching and fetching of ballot papers, the magistrates who work on election day across the country will also get allowance. Magistrates or officers having the power of magistrates will get an allowance of Tk 9,000 per person per day for a total of five days including the two days before and after the elections. Besides, they will get another Tk 1000 per day as staff allowance. That is, the election commission will spend Tk 50 thousand to pay the honorarium of a magistrate or allowance for performing election duties.
Meanwhile, a total of Tk 700 crore was allocated for law and order and election management in the 11th National Parliament election held on December 30, 2018. However, it increased later. Earlier, the total expenditure in the 10th parliamentary election held on January 5, 2014 was around Tk 264.68 crore. Out of this, Tk 81.55 crore were spent on election management and Tk 183 crore were spent on law enforcement. Voting was held in 147 constituencies in Seva elections. And in 153 seats single candidates were elected unopposed. As half of the precincts did not vote, the cost was much lower than the allocation.
On the other hand, 165 crore rupees were spent in the 9th parliamentary election held on December 29, 2008, in which there were more than 80 million voters. Due to the increase in expenditure in all sectors including materials and management, the electoral allocation also gradually increases. Before that, in the eighth parliamentary election held on October 1, 2001, the total expenditure was Tk 72.71 crore. And Tk 11.47 crore was spent for the conduct of seventh parliamentary elections held on June 12, 1996.
Incidentally, there are more than 42,000 polling stations in this election of 11.97 million voters. And there are more than 261,000 polling booths. Besides, each center will have 15-17 security personnel. There are 516,000 Ansar members in law enforcement, 182,91 police and RAB members, 2,350 Coast Guard members and 46,876 BGB members. Besides, there are about half a million members of the armed forces. Special arrangements for foreign observers and EC secretariat and training also cost huge sums.
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