With the model code of conduct clamped following notification of the municipal polls, the fate of the new schemes, announced by the State Government, has come under scanner. Will the free laptop scheme continue as usual? What about the expanded Madhu Babu Pension Scheme?
The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday said the ongoing schemes can continue, but the ones where physical delivery of benefits has not been made, will have to wait.
Going by the logic, the free laptop scheme is likely to face some hurdles since any ceremonial distribution will not be allowed. The State Government had identified 30 nodal centres where 15,000 laptops were scheduled to be distributed by September end and the process was to kick off from Independence Day.
The pension scheme, which has been expanded to cover 2.70 lakh additional beneficiaries, will remain unaffected, but any periodic revision of the beneficiaries during the prohibitory period will not be permitted.
In fact, the SEC had booked local MLA Anjali Behera as well as the Block Development Officer during the election to Hindol Notified Area Council earlier this year for a similar enhancement in beneficiary numbers.
Election Expenditure: The SEC has fixed three slabs for election expenditure for the candidates fighting the municipal polls. For candidates in NAC and municipalities with a population of 30,000, the expenditure ceiling will be `30,000.
For ULBs with a population ranging from 30,000 to 50,000, the expenditure limit will be `40,000. Similarly, for those with a population over 50,000, the limit will be `50,000. The same will apply for municipal corporations, SEC Secretary R N Sahu said. The budgetary provision for the municipal polls has been pegged at `7.85 crore.
Contesting from Jails: The Supreme Court directive barring candidates from contesting election from jail will not apply for the municipal poll. Since the State Act in this regard has not been amended, this will not apply to this election. This means, from behind the bars, one can throw one’s hat in the ring.