As four of India’s states, that is, Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and the union territory of Puducherry, went to the polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI)—the nodal agency responsible for conducting polls in the world’s largest democracy—has this year launched a number of new mobile applications which can be used by candidates, political parties and voters to facilitate the electoral process. For example, Matdata, the Android App, helps voters locate their names on the Electoral Roll as well as locate their polling station and booth.
Gone are the days when counting of ballots used to take days, now the results are out within two hours. The winners and losers are decided before they digest their breakfast, thus ridding them of their agony. EVM machines, CCTV surveillance, constant digital monitoring are all steps that have gone a long way in ensuring free and fair elections. From national-level data compilation of electors to the functioning at polling stations to work allocation of officers on duty: mobile application and technology have been put to use in new areas to make elections more smooth, effective, and transparent.
“The applications helped me a lot. It was a great experience, backed by great technology. It was the experience of a lifetime,” says the excited first-time voter Shoma Chaudhury from Kolkata.
Let’s look at several other technology interventions that brought the right to vote closer to the people this time.
Register your complaint at the click of a button in Election 2016
If your name didn’t figure on the polling list or you were not allowed to vote, no need to get disheartened or in panic mode. Through a new App, you can register your grievances through Samadhan, which takes complaints and processes them online. The process is immediate and trouble-free. The facility could also be availed at the toll-free number 1950, SMS, fax, post and email.
Quick permission for your meetings and rallies
Contestants wanting to organize public events could easily get permission for conducting meetings and rallies through Suvidha, the single-window system for clearing such requests. According to the ECI directives, permission had to be granted within 24 hours of candidates/parties making the request.
Get your vehicle registered for campaigning
Sugam is a vehicle management app that helps in the issuing and tracking of requisition of vehicles for use in election and campaigning purposes. To use the application, you have to provide vehicle details along with the address, mobile number, and bank details of owner and driver. The app can also track inter-district vehicular movement for official use. There is an Android version of this application as well. Matdaan, another Android App, will be used for poll day monitoring at polling stations.
With growing technological interventions, the Election Commission hoped to make the election process more user-friendly on one hand and on the other make booth-capturing, rigging, and other such malpractices increasingly difficult to indulge in. After all, democracy is the foundation of India and its biggest festival.