Ahmedabad | Gujarat government is now planning to extend the e-voting facility to panchayat polls, despite the lukewarm response it got in the recent municipal polls. At present, the e-voting facility is available only for voters of all the eight municipal corporations in the state.
Voters of District, Taluka and Gram Panchayats are not given this facility yet. However, before taking a decision, the state Panchayats Department has started an exercise to collect information from across India as well as from the other countries to find out the feasibility of this project.
According to Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development Jayanti Kavadia, information about Internet connectivity in rural parts of state is also being collected by his department. Our department is at present collecting information about whether such facility is in place in any other part of India or in the world, and how it is being handled there.
Such information is crucial for us to find out the road map to implement e-voting in Gujarat, said Kavadia. In the recently concluded local body polls across Gujarat, e-voting was introduced by Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) for polling in six municipal corporations.
However, it received a lukewarm response, as only 806 people preferred to vote online out of a total of 95.9 lakh voters in these six urban bodies. Gujarat SEC has been the first in the country to allow online voting facility for voters of municipal corporation areas of the state.
This facility was first offered to voters in the year 2010. The recently concluded local body polls were the second election where voters were given the facility to vote online without coming to the polling booth by registering themselves with the SEC on their website and follow procedures.
The election body has also prepared itself if the Panchayat Department gives a go ahead for e-voting in future, said SEC Secretary M V Joshi. We have introduced the e-voting in municipal corporations five years back after the Urban Department issued a notification regarding the same. To avail this facility in panchayat polls, the Panchayat department needs to issue such a notification, said Joshi.
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