Current Affairs Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination
Topic: One Nation One Voter ID
Why in News?
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made it possible for senior citizens above the age of 65 to vote by postal ballot, given that they are at greater risk from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Hitherto, this option was available only to disabled citizens and those above 80 years. There is a demand to extend this facility to migrant workers too.
Migrants and Voting Issues
- The novel coronavirus cataclysm and the subsequent national lockdown brought to centre stage the magnitude of internal migration and hardships that migrant workers endure in their quest for livelihoods.
- Internal migrant workers constitute about 13.9 crore as in the Economic Survey of 2017, that is nearly a third of India’s labour force.
- Often they toil in exploitative low-wage jobs, lacking identity and proper living conditions, without access to welfare and unable to exercise their voting rights. ( Internal migrant workers do not enrol as voters in their place of employment since they find proof of residence hard to provide.
- Migrant workers become quasi-disenfranchised, forgotten voters because they cannot afford to return home on election day to choose their representatives.
- Therefore, we must demonstrate the political will to usher in ‘One Nation One Voter ID,’ to ensure native ballot portability and empower the forgotten migrant voter.
Voter Portability Model
- Service voters (government employees) posted away from home can vote through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
- Classified service voters (e.g., military personnel) can do so through their proxies.
- The ECI has said that it is testing an Aadhaar-linked voter-ID based solution to enable electors to cast their votes digitally from anywhere in the country.
- It will be some time in the future before this becomes a functional reality. While developing this solution, we must ensure that the linkage with Aadhaar does not result in the exclusion of eligible individuals.
- To facilitate voting by migrant workers, the ECI could undertake substantial outreach measures using the network of District Collectorates.
- Migrants should be able to physically vote in their city of work based on the address on their existing voter IDs and duration of their temporary stay.
- In an age where banking transactions have gone online seamlessly, it is technologically feasible to record and transfer votes to their respective constituencies without compromising on the credibility of the election process.
One ID Proposal
- If the census of 2021 takes place properly, and if we’re able to make a proper digital format for it, then your Aadhaar card, electoral photo identity card, PAN card, passport can all become one card.
- Currently, the government is not working on any policy to make a single multipurpose ID, but said that the digital census of 2021 will act as a base for such a possibility.
- Election Commission is already pushing for the linkage of Aadhaar and voter ID. In a letter to the Law Ministry, the EC sought amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1950 so that it has grounds to link voter ID with Aadhaar card.