Citizens know not the ways of EC

Election Commission of India website proudly presents achievements of CEO, Karnataka, Best Practices.

The topic is inspiring – “Diamond Jubilee year of Election Commission of India. Greater Participation for a Stronger Democracy. Electoral Roll Management in Urban Areas”, presented by Mr. Manoj R., Special Officer (Elections), Karnataka. Date of the document is 09 Jan 2012.

Some points in the presentation:

  1. “Citizens do not know whether their name is included in the roll, in which part, which polling station, correctness, where to look for this information, and if a request is made when its status will be known.” Thanks for letting us know this. Citizens have all the problems you mention, and some more, Mr. Manoj. Is that part of the best practices you advice even other states to follow?
  2. The document has a special section named “Robust Search Facility.”  Even the Chief Electoral Officer’s name could not be found by his IT specialist and other officers on 19 June 2012 with such a  robust search. However, when lakhs of voters are wrongly deleted and most of the remaining data is wrong, what is the use of search even if it is robust perchance? When whole roads roll off from the rolls, when many blank documents are put out on CEO’s website as voter lists, what is left to  search? I don’t know if the people in CEO’s office care about requests and suggestions from citizens. If the current situation is bad, we can improve it to great extent with very little work and try to make CEO’s claims a little smaller lie.
  3. News of Voter Facilitation Centre (VFC), 21 of them in Bangalore. The document says they are citizen friendly. Wow! As As per the claims, they are already assisting the citizens in all matters of Electoral Roll issues in a dream-come-true manner. Or, am I just dreaming in a drama?
  4. VFCs educate the voters. However, the CEO’s organisation and their vendors are in a bigger need of education. Any takers for my offers? A school student could build a better quality website and manage information in a superior way.
  5. The document boasts that in 10 days of visiting the VFC “citizen can find out the results of the forms submitted … eligible elector can avail EPIC from day 10 onwards … Error free EPIC generation and distribution.” Errors are free – did I read right? No, these errors have cost a big amount to the tax payer and more importantly shake the foundation of free and fair elections. 
  6. The document also says, “Data entry of Manuscripts should be accurate and mistakes of transliteration should be zero… Only after checklist approval will the database ready for updation.” What a promise! How many zeros for the count of mistakes, following a non-zero number?
  7. The document gives statistics from 50 constituencies for the operations of February to April 2009
    • Additions:              8,63,147
    • Deletions:              3,76,959
    • Modifications:     2,01,566

Reality today in 67,19,335 records of 27 constituencies of Bangalore City:

  • additions:         3,95,978
  • deletions:         9,90,519
  • modifications : 1,02,379

The practice of 3 months in February to April 2009 was so different from what is done in 3 months between April 2012 to July 2012. Deletions now in 27 constituencies are 2.65 times of deletions in 50 constituencies 3 years ago. We do not know of changes in the remaining 197 constituencies of Karnataka. Scary. 

Modifications have mostly introduced grave errors and made the voter lists even more pathetic. Thankfully, modifications have been less than additions and deletions.

As per the numbers of April 2009, the size of electoral rolls have increased. We see them shrinking now. As the total numbers given are for 50 constituencies, we do not what proportion of changes happened in the 27 constituencies of Bangalore City.

“Citizens do not know…” states the document from CEO, K. Well said.

“Surely these are poor: they are foolish; for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment” – Bible

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About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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