Election Commission of India is the supreme body to conduct free and fair elections in India is the sole body entrusted with responsibility for ensuring maintenance of democratic rights in the country.
ECI kicks off Linking Aadhar Card with Voter ID Card throughout the country!
Election Commission of India has announced linking of Aadhar Card with Voter ID Card (also known as EPIC, Electoral Photo Identity Card) throughout the country. Though its was decided to press for this high potential project last year but it was only on 14th February that Election Commission of India announced the launch of this project from March 1st 2015 at the inauguration ceremony of an ECI workshop on ‘Linking of Aadhaar with Electoral Roll Database and Launching of Electoral Roll Authentication and Purification Drive’ at Dr. MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad. Speaking on the occasion, Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi stressed on the fact that electoral rolls need to be purified with the help of technology for which all concerned stakeholders need to work hard and put in collective efforts at national level. The DG and Mission Director of UIDAI, Dr. Vijay S. Madan assured all necessary support from UIDAI (Nodal agency for implementation of Aadhar Project in India). He expressed pleasure over numerous easy methods available for seeding of Aadhar with EPIC for all Indian citizens and reiterated the annual mission for year 2015 titled ‘Easy registration and Easy correction’ set by the Election Commission of India. The last date of process for voluntary linking of Aadhar with EPIC has been set as 31st of July.
Further addressing a media gathering on March 21st, Chief Election Commissioner Mr H.S. Brahma expressed joy that in just 20 days more than 63% of Voter ID Cards in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh have already been seeded to their Aadhar accounts which truly is a positive sign. He stressed upon the need for transparency in Voter List and expressed joy over the implementation of project as it is set to make India the only democracy in World with complete bio metric details of voters. He also explained that in order to push for further transparency and making the electoral process more genuine and foolproof, this unique but very smart move has been taken by the Election Commission; to ensure there are no fraudulent names in the voter list and to prevent duplication of names or enrollment in multiple constituencies. He was quoted saying “This shall largely curb the menace of fake voters being registered in the list by unscrupulous elements and also help to maintain accurate data in the electoral rolls to ensure there is no inconvenience to voters on the voting day when they visit the polling booth to exercise their franchise”. He further added that ECI was contemplating to revoke registration of all those political parties that have not taken part in election process for last 10 years. “Filing of nominations should also be online so that people can know the plus and minus of the candidates” Brahma added.
When asked about recent Supreme Court Guideline of Aadhar not being a mandatory document for availing Government services, CEC clarified that it was being observed that voters are voluntarily coming for enrollment for linking up of the two and Commission expects to clean up the 85 crore voter list of India from 6-8 % of duplicate name and fake identities. He announced that Election Commission of India expects to cover the entire country for linking the Aadhar numbers with Voter Card also known as EPIC- Aadhar Seeding by early 2016. CEC also expressed confidence in achieving the target of pan-India Aadhar linked EPIC by year end. Referring to statistics, he mentioned there are about 25-30 crore people without Aadhar cards and it is expected they shall be issued same by the August 2015, after which entire electoral roll shall be linked to Aadhar. Also use of Voter ID Card as proof of identity and address is being largely promoted by the various Aadhar enrollment agencies to make the process easy and simple and ensure seeding of voter id card with Aadhar at the initial step only.
To understand the process being adopted, the strategy is simple – once the entire country is covered under Aadhar mission; entire database of Aadhar shall be linked with electoral rolls data with Election Commission of India to prepare a error and fool proof voter list by weeding out dubious or multiple name. This shall ensure filtering out of all fake registered voters or duplicate entries in itself and prepare a pure electoral list for free and fair elections in future with all details of each and every registered voter.
Also considering the benefits of linking of Aadhar card with Voter ID Card, it shall make issuance, modifications, reissue of voter ID cards very easy as the Government shall already be in possession of Aadhar details which consists of necessary details of each and every individual including his or her biometric details thereby minimizing chances of pilferage to almost zero. To invite more and more people to voluntarily opt for such linkage of accounts, various self linking or EPIC- Aadhar seeding have been launched by the Government to make the process easy and simple. One can do so very easily right from his or her home at the click of few button. This has been separately covered in our article on How to Link Aadhar with Voter ID Card.
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