The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 25 , 2015

Assam voters to get I-cards by July: CEC

Chief election commissioner H.S. Brahma
on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, March 24: The Election Commission today announced that the Assembly elections in Assam would be held before May 2016 and that electoral photo identity cards (EPICs) would be issued to all voters by July this year.

"The Assembly elections in Assam are due before May 2016 and the process of purifying the electoral rolls started earlier this month. As of now, 95 per cent voters have been issued EPICs and by July, all the 1.9 crore voters in the state will get their cards," chief election commissioner H.S. Brahma said here today.

India has over 85 crore voters. The commission had launched the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) throughout the country from March 3 with the objective of creating a totally error-free and authenticated electoral roll. During the programme, EPIC data of electors will be linked with Aadhar data of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the purpose of authentication.

The programme will also focus on improving image quality on voter cards along with solving issues like correction of errors.

Brahma said the commission had since January 25 started the National Voters' Service Portal, a first of its kind initiative in the world, wherein a voter can find his/her name, address and polling station details, among others, online and rectify the same from any part of the world. "Daily, one to 1.5 lakh voters are logging on to the website," he said.

Brahma said that voter card details have been backed by Aadhar data, creating a link between the two, so there is no duplication in the electoral rolls. "By May, voters in the six southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa will have Aadhar cards, and by August 2015, the EPICs of all voters in the country would be linked to Aadhar cards so as to prevent duplication of voters," the chief election commissioner said.

Apart from Tripura and Sikkim, enrolment for Aadhaar remains very low in the Northeast, with Assam at the bottom of the list. According to figures available with the UIDAI, which handles the Aadhaar project, as on November 30, 2014, the percentage of enrolment against the total population was abysmally low in Assam - 0.3 per cent. Asked what was impeding the implementation of Aadhar in Assam, Brahma said the commission was trying to find out the problems in the process. "We are trying to understand the problem," he said.

Other novel initiatives of the commission include changing of one's place of residence online. "All that a person needs to do in case of transfer to another city is to inform the commission online and the name will be automatically transferred. All these services can be availed of through the Internet without any need for approaching any official in person. We are also training our election registration officers in this regard," he said.

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