The next YouTube hit may well be the Indian elections.
The Election Commission is taking the polls online and plans to webcast voting live from most of the 1.4 million polling stations across the country.
Aimed at ensuring transparency, the poll watchdog has instructed its officers to use YouTube–like free video-streaming websites for real-time telecast on all the nine polling days. April 7 is the first day of polling and May 12 the last.
“We are taking transparency to a different level...rather global. No country in the world has used the digital space as we would this time,” the EC official behind the move told HT on condition of anonymity. It will also help close monitoring of constituencies identified as “sensitive”.
Webcasting is the obvious second step as video-recording of polling is mandatory. With booths as far as in Ladakh and in remote jungles of Chhattisgarh, live streaming won’t be possible for all areas, but for other polling stations, officials have been asked to ensure landline or mobile broadband connections.
The officers have also been asked to rent or borrow video cameras — from government offices, district officials and even schools. The cameras would be connected to computers, laptops or tablets — any device with internet connection for the webcast.
Internet companies, too, stand to gain, as they are likely to see heavy traffic on polling days. Social media companies were expected to earn `500 crore, with political parties making poll pitch in virtual world as well, news agency PTI said. Of the 814 million Indian voters, around 200m have access to internet and half of them are active on social media.