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National Voters’ Day-Making our our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed – All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC

  • IASbaba
  • April 17, 2021
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Search 25th January, 2021 Spotlight News Analysis here: http://www.newsonair.com/Main_Audio_Bulletins_Search.aspx

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Indian polity; Government laws and policies; Policy reforms 
  • Democratic governance and society

In News: National Voters’ Day is celebrated all across the country on January 25 every year since 2011, to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India, i.e. 25th January 1950. The main purpose of the National Voters Day celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize enrolment, especially for new voters.

Theme: ”Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed”

Background

  • Election Commission of India is a Constitutional Body created under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. 
  • The first Chief Election Commissioner was appointed on 21st March 1950. Since its creation, the Commission was a single member body except for a brief period from 16th October 1989 to 1st January 1990 when it was converted into a three member body. 
  • Subsequently, since 1st October 1993, the Commission has been a three-member body, consisting of the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • The National Voters’ Day celebration was initiated in India in 2011 by the then-President of India, Pratibha Devi Patil, on the 61st foundation day of Election Commission of India.
  • The Constitution (Sixty-First Amendment) Act, 1988 had lowered the threshold voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

Launch of 

Election Commission of India’s Web Radio: ‘Hello Voters’ – an online digital radio service. 

e-EPIC (Electronic Electoral Photo Identity Card) programme: The e-EPIC is a non-editable secure portable document format (PDF) version of the EPIC (approx. 250 KB) which can be downloaded on mobile or in a self-printable form on the computer.

  • A voter can thus store the card on his mobile, upload it on Digi locker or print it and self-laminate it. This is in addition to physical IDs known as PVC EPIC being issued for fresh registration. 
  • The e-EPIC will also have a secured QR code with the serial number, part number, date of poll, etc along with the image of the voter for identification.
  • The e-EPIC initiative would be launched in two phases:-
    • First phase- It will start from From January 25 to 31. Only new voters can apply for the voter-ID card and register their mobile numbers in Form-6 to download the e-EPIC by authenticating their mobile number. The mobile numbers should be unique and not be previously registered. 
    • Second phase- It will start from February 1 and will be open for the general voters. People who have given their mobile numbers (linked one) they can also download their e-EPIC.

As a voter..

We should always respect the valuable right to vote. The right to vote is not a simple right; people around the world have struggled a lot for this. Since independence, our Constitution has given equal voting rights to all citizens without any discrimination on the basis of merit, religion, race and caste. For this, we are indebted to the makers of our Constitution.

The origin of Indian democracy, in particular the establishment of its edifice through the implementation of universal adult franchise, was an ingeniously Indian enterprise. It was no legacy of colonial rule, and was largely driven by the Indians, often by people of modest means. The turning of all adults into voters was a staggering democratic state-building operation of inclusion and scale, which surpassed any previous experience in democratic world history. This work was undertaken by Indian bureaucrats between August 1947, when the country became independent, and January 1950, when it adopted the Constitution.

The fundamental problem lies in viewing voting as a transaction, the aim of which is to get some benefit for an individual or a group. But we have to recognise that voting is not like any other transaction. The duty that is inherent in the act of voting is an ethical duty, not just a constitutional one. It is the duty of having to act not for individual benefit, such as money or ideology, but for the benefit of the larger society. Such benefit for the larger society will include others benefiting as much as each one of us does through each of our votes. This duty is the ethical rationality related to voting. It is also a recognition that a democratic action like voting is primarily for the good of something larger than one’s self interests.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. A voter is the bedrock of the institution of democracy. Discuss.
  2. Illustrate the contribution of Election Commission in strengthening democracy in India.  

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