Great Changes in the Electoral and Voting Process in Maharashtra
The State Election Commission (SEC), Maharashtra is doing their best to get people to come out and vote. The present State Election Commissioner Shri. J.S.Saharia took charge in September 2014, after serving around 37 years in Civil Services and retiring as Chief Secretary of Maharashtra State. His vision has made State Election Commission, Maharashtra, a pioneer in the country to implement novel ideas and far reaching programs. All his actions are planned with the sole objective to fulfil the mandate of Constitution of India, of making elections free, fair and transparent. Here are the few of the steps taken for bringing change in the complete election process:
- Online nomination process
- Bifurcation of voter list through software: For the first time, the making of the voter list has been completely digitized making the work smooth, easy and error free (https://localbodyvoterlist.maharashtra.gov.in/)
- Delimitation by use of GIS software: This probably is experimented for the first time in the world. In this activity, the delimitation is carried out through an application by use of GIS software, wherein as per the parameters laid down by SEC the software objectively analyses the geographical area and creates wards without any human intervention or human manipulation.
- Launching of FAQ through URL as well as Mobile app: The six different local bodies viz. Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayat, Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats are controlled by five different Acts. To answer these queries, SEC has published FAQ of around 2500 questions relating to local body elections and their Acts.
- Launching of mobile app ‘True Voter’: To bring more transparency in election by dissemination of information to every voter; also to check various election related aspects and facilitate various activities. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sec.maharashtra.truevoter.activity )
- Decentralisation of powers for efficient, effective and quick decision making: The various powers regarding authority to prepare draft delimitation, authority to conduct hearing on objections raised on delimitation, authority to finalize the delimitation, authority to disqualify candidate, authority to hear appeal on disqualification order etc. have been delegated, thus decentralizing the power and bringing efficiency and effectiveness in decision making.
- Use of social media for voter awareness and ethical voting: This is being done for the first time in India by any Election Commission.
- Missed call pledging that "I will vote". On National Voters’ Day 1 million pledges were registered. The pledging option by giving a missed call on 9029 901 901 is still on.
- Strict action against political parties not abiding by the mandatory conditions of registration. First time in the country 220 Parties have been deregistered by SEC, for violating or not abiding by the orders.
- Involvement of NGOs like ADR, Praja etc. for analysis of contesting candidates and results and its wide dissemination to the public. http://myneta.info/mahalocalbody/winnersMC.php
- Research through renowned Gokhale Institute about elections, happening first time in the country. The research report widely disseminated to public.
- Involvement of bankers, hotel associations, corporate, industries associations, etc. for creating voter awareness on a mass scale.
- Election expense digitization to effectively monitor the violation and take action against violators within a short period. For the first time in the country the candidates are given the facility to digitally make entries of expense through a mobile app.
- Election monitoring cell to effectively implement model code of conduct by involving various agencies and innovative ideas. The agencies like Income Tax, Banks, Excise, Police etc. have been actively involved in this process for the first time. Appointment of observers, Static Surveillance Team, Vigilance Team etc., have been deployed for Parliament and State Legislature elections.
- Use of mascot "Voter Mitra’’.
- As per Supreme Court Judgement all information of candidates is disseminated to voters through various mediums.