The Prime Minister's Office has sought clarity on a Rs 57-crore project of Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi to establish an India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management at Dwarka in New Delhi as the Cabinet note did not contain comments from various union ministries.
The Union Cabinet had an agenda about the establishment of IIDEM slated for Thursday March 1, 2012 but with the PMO wanting views of union ministries of Finance, External Affairs and Law, this subject is likely to be pushed to April 2012.
Expenditure incurred above Rs 10 crore is to be cleared and approved by the Expenditure Committee. This clearance was not reflected in the Cabinet note.
Hence the PMO decided to seek clarity from Election Commission and also from the Union Law Ministry.
The PMO, in its direction to Cabinet Secretariat on Tuesday asked the EC to get the proposal cleared from the expenditure angle as the circulated Cabinet note did not have comments from the Union Ministry of Finance and the Union Ministry of Legal Affairs.
At a high-level meeting in PMO with the cabinet secretary, recently it was decided to get comments from the Ministry of External Affairs, as this institute involves training of foreign nationals.
Sources privy to this exercise of preparation of this cabinet note doubt the urgency with which IIDEM was initiated. With the backdrop of controversies between the Union Law Ministry and the CEC, precautions were taken not to rush to include this in the agenda.
The PMO has agreed to establish the IIDEM in principle, but is also wary of controversies over whether this institute would be headed by a former CEC or by the Union Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Quraishi demits his office on July 10, 2012, when he turns 65. He has designed this project and wants to get the approval before his tenure ends.
IIDEM is as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension of participatory democracy and election management.
An initiative of the EC, the institute currently operates from Nirvachan Bhawan, its headquarters. But plans are afoot to develop a world class facility on a 5-acre plot acquired in the Socio Cultural Centre at Dwarka Sector 13.
"Once completed, the institute will have a campus with the state of the art training and conference facilities, a library, a hostel and resource centres," says an Expression of Interest tender floated on Thursday inviting architects to suggests its design.