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India: Election Commission Goes Digital for Voter Awareness

April 08, 2019

Guwahati: The Lok Sabha elections have given a boost to digital literacy in the rural households of Assam. As part of an initiative by the office of the chief electoral officer, Assam, over 4,000 common service centres (CSCs) in rural Assam are conducting sessions to train voters on digital skills so that they can use the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

“A range of mobile apps launched by the Election Commission is being put to use in the Lok Sabha polls. In rural areas, there is need to increase digital literacy so that the voter can use these tools. That is why we decided to tie up with the common service centres. They have been conducting the sessions since March 17 under the initiative called i-help,” said the deputy secretary (Election), Mr Pankaj Chakraborty, while adding that the sessions conducted during these days would digitally empower the villagers even for the future.

While the Election Commission of India has around eight apps on the Google Playstore, four of them – Suvidha, CVigil, PwD and Voter helpline – will be widely used during the polls.

The CSCs are Internet-enabled access points spread throughout the country for delivering various government and non-government digital services. There are 4,587 CSCs in Assam and they have presence in all the 2,548 gram panchayats.

The state head of CSC service in Assam, Gyan Doley, told reporters that since the initiative began, the centres have touched more than a lakh people.

“Around 50-60 people are participating in the hourlong sessions conducted at the centres. The participants are being educated on the apps. We are helping them download the apps. Door-to-door campaign is also being conducted at several places,” Mr Doley said.

The PwD app can be used by disabled people to register for special facilities like suitable polling station and special queue. Voter helpline app facilitates verification of name in the electoral roll and submission of online forms for new voter registration. CVigil app enables citizens to report rule violations. The CSCs are also helping in making online registrations and verifying details on the electoral rolls.

The CSCs are also identifying dedicated ambassadors, “Divyang Sarthis”, at places, who are being tasked with the job of encouraging their fellow voters and creating awareness about various facilities available to them. They are collecting information on the requirements of persons with disabilities by liaising with the administrations.

Moreover, the Election Commission of India has resorted to various innovative mechanisms to attract voters to the polling booths. The Kamrup (Metropolitan) district administration is on a mission mode to open static exhibition centres (SEC) operated by women in the most happening places of the city in order to create awareness on voting. After successful launch of two SECs at the Dispur revenue circle office and at the Meghdoot Bhawan here over the last two days, election officials in the district are now planning to install SECs at shopping malls, college points and revenue circle offices. All these places witness a large footfall during working hours.

Source: Asian Age

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