Time has come to use tech-driven methods to allow overseas Indian voters to participate in polls: CEC Kumar


PTI, Jun 9, 2023, 7:25 PM IST

Image credit: PTI / File

New Delhi: The time has come to use technology-driven methods such as e-postal ballot to allow eligible overseas Indian voters to participate in elections here, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Friday.

He also said that the timely and continued delivery of credible electoral outcomes since 1952 was an important ingredient of worldwide acknowledgement of India’s comprehensive national power, especially in an era of ”democratic backsliding”.

Kumar made these remarks while addressing the 2022-batch Indian Foreign Service officer-trainees on the theme ”India-the Mother of Democracies and Role of ECI” at the Nirvachan Sadan here.

Speaking on the common challenges being faced by election management bodies in the conduct of free and fair elections, the chief election commissioner referred to the rising threat from fake news and deepfakes on social media derailing the election narratives.

According to sources, when asked about voting by overseas voters, Kumar said that the time has come when the fifth largest economy of the world invoked technology-driven methodology to facilitate eligible overseas Indian voters to participate in elections through electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETBPS).

The EC proposal to facilitate ETPBS for overseas Indian voters is under discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs to ”iron out” logistical challenges involved in its implementation, the government told Rajya Sabha in March this year.

The total number of overseas electors as on January 1 this year stood at over 1.15 lakh.

Kumar also said that in the growing worldwide concern of democratic recession, the EC’s continued delivery of credible electoral outcomes showcases the strength and resilience of its democratic institutions. The CEC also gave an overview of the complexity of numbers and sophistication of process for conducting elections in the world’s largest democracy.

More than 10 lakh polling stations and over one crore polling officials ensure an inclusive, accessible, participative and tech-driven election.

He said India’s elections are often hailed as the world’s largest peacetime mobilisation conducted with six sigma precision in terms of movement of men and material.

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