The election commission on Thursday made it compulsory for colleges to issue voter enrolment forms with admission forms in junior and senior colleges offering professional courses. This was done to improve the enrolment of first time voters which accounts for 33% of the population within.
Adolescents enrolling in junior colleges will have to give a declaration that they will complete the enrolment process on being 18.
It is, however, not compulsory for students submit the forms to the colleges. “The education department will issue a circular to colleges making it compulsory for them to issue enrolment forms with their admission documents. College principals have been appointed as nodal officers to collect the enrolment forms,” said deputy chief electoral officer. He added, “Once the students submit their forms, the colleges will have to hand over the documents to the collectors. The electoral registration officers at each constituency will ensure that the process is completed.”
The animal husbandry and fisheries department has already issued a government resolution making it mandatory for fisheries colleges to issue voter enrolment forms.
In Maharashtra, people between 18 and 21 years represent only 33% of the state’s voters. “To encourage young adults to register as voters we decided to introduce this process,” said another officer.
The election commission had earlier appointed students and principals as their ambassadors and nodal officers to encourage more students to enroll but the response was not encouraging. With the new order, the commission expects colleges to put in extra efforts and encourage students.
“Making it compulsory for colleges to distribute forms is a great idea and we may see a better turnout during the next polls,” said Nitai Mehta, fouder trustee of Praja Foudnation.