The Election Commission is hopeful that by 2009 all voters in Maharashtra will have photo identity cards. Beginning with the local self-government elections from November 19, voters at 62 polling centres in 14 districts will be photographed when they come to cast their votes.
“This is the first time in the country that we are experimenting with such a thing and we plan to implement it during the forthcoming civic elections. We want to ensure that before the next assembly elections, everybody has a photo-identity card,” Chief Electoral Officer UPS Madan said.
For the last six months, the Election Commission has been trying to ensure that all citizens of the state procure an election photo identity card. In 6 assembly constituencies, a pilot project was started for people who do not have the identity card. However, in many areas, the response was not quite good. In Nagpur, only 31 per cent of the people came forward for clicking photographs at the centres.
"We then thought that the experiment could be done during elections as people come to vote and our staff would also not end up wasting time and energy", said Madan.
He further said that the I-cards would be delivered to the voters within a month. With the total population of 6.60 crore, the election commission has a record of only 2.75 crore people who have a photo identity card.