Bihar Assembly Election 2020: ECI to deploy app for online nomination, crowd management
The app will be rolled out ahead of the Bihar elections, which are likely to be held on schedule by end-NovemberUpdated: Sep 25, 2020, 16:57 IST
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is working on a mobile application (app) to allow candidates to file nominations and also pay their security deposit online, people familiar with the matter said.
The app will be rolled out ahead of the Bihar elections, which are likely to be held on schedule by end-November, despite the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
This will be the first time that candidates will be allowed to file their nominations online, a move that has been fast tracked owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In August, the poll panel had announced a host of sweeping changes in voting, counting and campaigning procedures in a bid to rein in the spread of the viral outbreak, as Covid-19 cases breached the five-million mark.
“The app will allow the candidates to file their nominations online,” said a person familiar with the matter. “However, it is an optional process.”
The app is likely to use the indigenous mobile app BHIM, developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), to make payments.
A general category assembly poll candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs. 10,000. While a candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) has to deposit Rs 5,000.
The amount is refundable, unless the candidate fails to secure one-sixth of the valid vote. In that case, the candidate will loss h/her security deposit.
Online registration app is not the only one that ECI is planning to introduce for the upcoming Bihar polls. Booth, another app that has been launched by the poll panel, will also be used for real-time data analysis and crowd management.
All 70 constituencies in Delhi, where elections were held in February, had used Booth.
“Each voter slip comes with a QR (quick response) code that is scanned by the app to provide hourly data for each constituency,” said the person mentioned above.
The app collects and collates the number of voters, who have cast their vote at a particular polling booth. The mechanism enables the ECI to compile a report outlining electorates’ participation in an assembly election.
“It also helps in queue management, which is mandatory because of maintaining strict social distancing norms following the raging Covid-19 pandemic,” said the person mentioned above.
“On the day of the poll, the voter, by entering the EPIC number, will be able to see the number of people queued up in his/ her polling station, wherever the app is being used . Considering the norms of social distancing, a voter can plan his visit to the polling station. A voter portal will also available in the mobile app ‘Voter Helpline App’ from Google Play store and Apple App Store,” ECI said on Friday.
The ECI has been rapidly digitising its operations, as electoral rolls will soon become fully online.
The poll panel has also set up a technical advisory panel, which comprises experts from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Informatics Centre (NIC), to assess options for remote voting.