Guidelines on linking Aadhaar with the electoral rolls (Voter ID) may be issued by the federal government quickly, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra has stated, including that sharing Aadhaar particulars might be voluntary for voters, however these not doing so must give “enough causes”.
Mr Chandra, who demits workplace tomorrow night, additionally stated that the ballot panel performed a key position in intensifying the vaccination drive within the 5 states the place meeting elections concluded in March this yr to make sure that voters and people concerned in election obligation have been protected from the coronavirus.
In an interview with Press Belief of India, he stated two main electoral reforms which befell in his tenure because the Chief Election Commissioner are the availability of 4 dates in a yr as a substitute of 1 to enroll these turning 18 as voters and the linking of Aadhaar with electoral rolls to verify duplicate entries within the voters’ listing.
“Earlier, solely January 1 of yearly was the deadline. We satisfied the federal government that this reform may be very important and these folks must be enrolled as quickly as they flip 18. With this reform now, there might be 4 dates in a yr to get these folks registered once they full 18 years of age. This reform was pending for the final 20 years,” Mr Chandra stated.
The 4 deadlines for enrollment is a part of a Invoice handed by Parliament a number of months again to permit linkage of Aadhaar with the electoral rolls.
As of now, these turning 18 on or earlier than January 1 may be registered as voters. Those that flip 18 on January 2 or later have to attend for one yr to register as a voter. However as soon as the foundations are issued, younger folks can get registered as voters on 4 completely different dates yearly.
“The second greatest reform is the linking of Aadhaar with electoral rolls to verify duplicate entries. It’ll make the voter listing pure. It’ll make the electoral roll extra sturdy,” he stated.
Requested when the foundations might be notified by the federal government, Mr Chandra stated “I feel very quickly as a result of we have now already despatched draft proposals on this regard. We now have additionally despatched the varieties that are to be modified and they’re with the (regulation) ministry. Very quickly, I feel they are going to be cleared. We will even must tone up our IT system.”
On whether or not sharing Aadhaar particulars might be voluntary, he replied in optimistic. “It will likely be voluntary. However enough cause must be given by voters for not giving their Aadhaar numbers. The rationale might embrace not having an Aadhaar or not having utilized for one or every other cause they will consider. I can’t consider every other cause,” the ballot physique chief stated.
Mr Chandra was of the view that sharing Aadhaar quantity will assist the Election Fee to purify the voter listing. It’ll additionally make sure that the ballot panel is ready to give extra companies to the voters via its communication system, he added.
“If we all know in regards to the voter extra clearly, then we may give extra companies equivalent to when the elections might be held and sales space (particulars) on their cellphone numbers… We should always know clearly that he/she is the best particular person,” Mr Chandra stated.
Requested in regards to the greatest problem he has confronted because the Chief Election Fee, he stated the “hardest” one was to conduct elections in 5 states and varied bypolls throughout COVID-19.
“As a result of when these elections have been coming close to, we by no means thought at the moment that Covid will intensify. All of a sudden, we got here to know in regards to the onset of Omicron. We needed to put together as no one knew a lot about this variant.
“So all of the sudden, we needed to gear as much as make the voting course of and the election equipment protected,” he added.
Throughout this era, the Election Fee intensified the vaccination course of and ensured booster (precaution) doses for its polling personnel, together with safety forces.
“We needed to take the weird step of stopping campaigning in bodily kind. Initially, we stated solely door-to-door campaigning with simply 5 folks might be allowed and there might be extra emphasis on digital campaigning,” Mr Chandra recalled.
“We had common conferences with well being secretaries and chief secretaries of the states. We requested them to accentuate vaccination and we saved an in depth watch each week. We have been giving a really graded response to our campaigning methodology. We opened it progressively. By the point electioneering began, the vaccination price was very excessive in all of the 5 states, and the voters had been given the primary or the second doses as per protocol,” he added.
Mr Chandra replied in optimistic when requested whether or not it was the Election Fee which had in a method been answerable for intensifying the vaccination drive within the 5 states.
“Undoubtedly. In states the place it was particularly much less like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, we reviewed the scenario and requested the chief sectaries and the well being secretaries to spice up the vaccination drive.
“Each particular person ought to have taken not less than the primary dose. If the primary dose had been administered, then the second must be given. In Uttar Pradesh, the primary dose protection was 100 per cent. The proportion of vaccination in Punjab and Manipur additionally went up. We took each step attainable to verify the unfold of Omicron in the course of the elections in these states in order that the voters and the voting course of may be protected,” he stated.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)