Guidelines on linking Aadhaar with the electoral rolls (Voter ID) could be issued by the federal government quickly, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra has mentioned, including that sharing Aadhaar particulars shall be voluntary for voters, however these not doing so should give “adequate causes”.
Mr Chandra, who demits workplace tomorrow night, additionally mentioned that the ballot panel performed a key function 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 mentioned two main electoral reforms which happened in his tenure because the Chief Election Commissioner are the availability of 4 dates in a yr as an alternative of 1 to enroll these turning 18 as voters and the linking of Aadhaar with electoral rolls to verify duplicate entries within the voters’ checklist.
“Earlier, solely January 1 of yearly was the closing date. 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 shall 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 mentioned.
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 could 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 would make the voter checklist pure. It would make the electoral roll extra sturdy,” he mentioned.
Requested when the foundations shall be notified by the federal government, Mr Chandra mentioned “I feel very quickly as a result of now we have already despatched draft proposals on this regard. We’ve got additionally despatched the kinds that are to be modified and they’re with the (legislation) ministry. Very quickly, I feel they are going to be cleared. We can even need to tone up our IT system.”
On whether or not sharing Aadhaar particulars shall be voluntary, he replied in optimistic. “Will probably be voluntary. However adequate purpose should be given by voters for not giving their Aadhaar numbers. The explanation could embrace not having an Aadhaar or not having utilized for one or another purpose they will consider. I can not consider another purpose,” the ballot physique chief mentioned.
Mr Chandra was of the view that sharing Aadhaar quantity will assist the Election Fee to purify the voter checklist. It would additionally be certain that the ballot panel is ready to give extra companies to the voters by its communication system, he added.
“If we all know concerning the voter extra clearly, then we can provide extra companies corresponding to when the elections shall be held and sales space (particulars) on their cellphone numbers… We must always know clearly that he/she is the best particular person,” Mr Chandra mentioned.
Requested concerning the greatest problem he has confronted because the Chief Election Fee, he mentioned 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 the sudden, we got here to know concerning the onset of Omicron. We needed to put together as no one knew a lot about this variant.
“So immediately, 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 mentioned solely door-to-door campaigning with simply 5 folks shall be allowed and there shall 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 fee 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 means been answerable for intensifying the vaccination drive within the 5 states.
“Positively. 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.
“Every particular person ought to have taken at the least 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 every step potential 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 could be protected,” he mentioned.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)