New Delhi India, the largest democracy in the world, has been 'empowered' with 290 million more votes and these are to play a 'big role' in some coming Assembly elections in states like Bihar and in the 2024 Parliamentary polls.
The Election Commission has recognised the 'lost votes' after a 'lost votes campaign' was initiated by a leading media House across the country announcing that the Commission is working on a permanent, technology-led solution to enable voting from any city.
The news of enfranchising eligible voters in the country to the maximum extent came amid President Donald Trump of the United States- the second largest democracy- starting his two-day India visit.
The government is considering amending the Aadhaar legislation to legally empower the Election Commission to link the electoral roll with the Unique Identification number.
However, according to some political observers, the process under consideration deserves ''closer scrutiny.''India has an estimated 400 million migrants, most of whom are seasonal and temporary migrants.
A significant number of such migrants are unable to vote, which amounts todisenfranchisement on a large scale due to economic compulsions of migrants.
Asked to comment on the finding of 'lost votes,' educationist and Constitutional expert Ramesh Virmani said, ''To correct this, the use of biometrics is almost inevitable and the Aadhaar data base will have to be used. However, linking to Aadhaar must not be made mandatory for all voters, including non-migrant ones.''
Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit identifier which encapsulates both biometric and demographic data such as names. The effort to clean the electoral database will need only the demographic data for corroboration.Mr Virmani, further said, ''The relevant question now is how reliable is the demographic data with Aadhaar in relation to the voter ID data? ''
He also pointed out that the most recent annual survey by IDinsight on state of Aadhaar said that demographic error rate in Aadhaar is 8.8 per cent as against 5.7 per cent for voter ID.
Mr Virmani's view was echoed in the observation of Sociologist-turned-Lecturer of Economics Manjula Thappar- '' Efforts to trace the lost votes of migrants, unable to exercise their democratic rights just because of their absence in the very Constituency during the poll process, are welcome. But attempts should be made leaving no-stone-unturned to achieve the desired results.''
''The Election Commission's recognition to the lost votes and the government's technology-driven strategy to help enable such voters to exercise their democratic rights are commendable steps. But all such steps should be 'foolproof,' '' Ms Thappar maintained.(UNI)