In a move that could be considered as a relief to candidates in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls, the Union Cabinet on Friday agreed to the Election Commission’s suggestion that the ceiling on poll expenditure be raised and to amend the rules relating to the maximum poll expenditure and increase the ceiling.

The government agreed to amend Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, increasing the ceiling for Lok Sabha poll to Rs.70 lakh per candidate from the existing Rs.40 lakh, and for the Assembly poll to Rs.28 lakh from Rs.16 lakh. However, this is applicable only in the bigger States.

Increase in the number of electors and polling stations, and increase in the cost inflation index were some of the reasons cited for hiking the expenditure ceiling.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshdweep and Puducherry, the ceiling for LS poll is Rs.54 lakh.

For Assembly elections, the new ceiling in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Puducherry is Rs.20 lakh.