You will soon be able to get your electronic photo identity card (EPIC) or voter id for a fee of just Rs 30.
The election commission has decided to outsource the facility through Maharashtra government’s centres that have been set up even at tehsil and village levels.
The Maharashtra government wants to ensure that every voter has a voter ID.
“Maharashtra lags far behind other states that have reached a percentage of 98% to 99% of voters with voter IDs. The higher percentage helps curb bogus voting and hence the ECI has been emphasising that all voters have these cards,” said an EC official.
“We ar e launching the pilot project in at ehsil of Ahmednagar district in the next few weeks and it will be spread across the state in phases. As the state government has the machinery in the form of SETU and Common Services Centres (SCS) in place at the tehsil and village levels, we have decided to use them for this. These centres are utilised to issue various government documents such as birth, death, caste certificates and have proved to be very effective.”
Issuing of voter ID cards has been a cumbersome experience owing to a shortage of dedicated staff with the EC. In Maharashtra, district collectorate officials are borrowed for election related work, resulting in a shortage of staff.
To overcome the difficulty and improve the percentage of voters with voter IDs compared to other states, the EC is launching a pilot project of issuing the cards by the outsourced agencies in the first two weeks of September.
The new cards made of PVC also have security features to curb misuse such as bogus voting. The officer said the national emblem on the cards can be identified through ultra violet devices when needed.
The election commission has clarified that the new cards will not be a replacement for the existing ones. Anil Valvi, joint chief electoral officer, said, this was not an attempt to replace the existing cards, which will be continued to be issued on demand. The cards are aimed at 60 lakh voters who are still without a voter ID, he said.