oppn parties Linking Aadhaar With EPIC: A Long Overdue And Important Electoral Reform

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  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Linking Aadhaar With EPIC: A Long Overdue And Important Electoral Reform

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-02-19 21:36:13

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The NDA government is taking the bold step of empowering the Election Commission (EC) to link the voter's identification card or electoral photo identity card (EPIC) with the Aadhaar number. Since the Aadhaar Act will have to be amended to facilitate the same, the law ministry is preparing a note that will be submitted to the Union cabinet for approval. The EC had started linking the two in 2015 before the Supreme Court disallowed the same by restricting the use of Aadhaar.

This is a long overdue and important electoral reform. The EC has been pressing the government for linking EPIC with the unique identification number (UID) under Aadhaar ever since the Supreme Court allowed the same last year, allowing the government to make necessary amendments to the Aadhaar Act for the same. The major benefits of this linkage will be two-fold. 

It will allow the EC to sanitize the electoral rolls and delete duplicate and false entries to make it truly representative. But the biggest benefit will accrue to migrant workers or others who cannot make it to their polling booths on the day of voting. At present, the practice is for the voter to cast his vote only at the assigned polling booth (except for special cases like personnel of the armed forces and government servants on duty away from their place of residence, among others). When the EPIC is linked to the UID, such persons will be allowed to vote from the remote location after verifying their identity. The EC is working towards establishing a secure and electronic voting system to help such persons exercise their franchise.

It is clear that if people are not able to cast their vote on account of not being able to make it to the polling booth assigned to them, it is like disenfranchisement for them. Further, migrant workers normally take leave for a few days to visit their native place to cast their votes. This results in the expense of the journey and loss of earning for them for the number of days they are absent from work. It also results in loss of productivity for the units they work in. Further, from the electoral point of view, the chances of false votes being cast increase as local party workers are aware of the migrant status of most voters. Linking EPIC with UID will be a boon to such people. It will also be the first step towards using electronic, remote voting in the country and can perhaps usher in an era when voting from mobile phones will be available as an option to the voters.