IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th January, 2023 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

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  • More than 67 lakh voters have downloaded their electronic Electoral Photo ID Card (E-EPIC) or digital voter ID till 23rd December 2022.
    • The digital version of EPICs is available for download from the Voter Helpline app, voterportal.eci.gov.in and nvsp in.
    • It is a non-editable PDF that can be downloaded on the phone and stored on the DigiLocker app or self-printed.
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) said that nearly 9.8 crore voters are currently eligible to download an E-EPIC; this is equivalent to less than 1% of all registered voters in India.
    • Almost 92 crore people were registered as voters in India in 2019; this means that the total number of people eligible to download an E-EPIC is only around 10% of the overall electoral base.
  • E-EPIC was launched on 25th January 2021, the general availability of the document was postponed and for much of 2021 and 2022, only voters who had freshly registered in the rolls were eligible.
    • During the last few months of 2022, the ECI allowed any voter to download an E-EPIC version of their Voter ID, with the help of their registered mobile number on the rolls.
    • This provision was criticized by many activists and politicians as most voters do not have a registered mobile number on the voter rolls. However, voters can add their mobile numbers to the rolls through the National Voters’ Service Portal website and the Voter Helpline app.
  • The ECI is working to link voters’ registrations to their Aadhaar, following the passage of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021.

The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021:

  • Indian Parliament passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2021 to amend the Representation of the People Act, of 1950 and the Representation of the People Act, of 1951 to implement certain electoral reforms.  
    • The 1950 Act provides for the allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.
    • The 1951 Act provides for the conduct of elections, and offenses and disputes related to elections.

Key features of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2021:

  • Linking Voter list with Aadhaar
    • The electoral registration officer may ask a person to provide their Aadhaar number for verifying their identity.
    • If their name is already on the electoral roll, then the Aadhaar number may be required for authentication.
    • Persons will not be refused inclusion in the electoral roll or have their names deleted from the roll if they are unable to furnish an Aadhaar number.
      • Such persons may be permitted to furnish alternate documents prescribed by the central government.
  • Date for enrolment in Voter list
    • Under the 1950 Act, the qualifying date for enrolment is 1st January of the year.
    • The 2021 act amended the earlier provisions and provided 4 qualifying dates in a calendar year: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 to enroll under the voter list.
  • Gender equality
    • The 1950 Act permits service voters, such as members of the armed forces or central government employees posted outside India.
      • The 1951 Act enables the wife of a person holding a service qualification to vote either in person or by postal ballot.
    • The recent amendment replaces the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ in both the Acts.