If the religion was democracy then the election commission becomes the priest.
The International centre at Goa has started a series of public education campaign. The have their priorities right they are talking to literate uneducated. This time round it was a talk by Dr.S.Y.Quereshi the former chief of election commission, the session was chaired by Dr.M.Madassir the current chief of election commission for Goa.
Dr,Quereshi began with telling us, electoral reforms are done at various levels.
In the space that the country occurs today, the electoral reforms are at the level of the Parliament and legislature forgetting the most important level of grassroots.
The current Panchayat raj system is also old and corrupted it needs to be redone.
The USP of India is its efficient democracy and electoral system. This is possible because 1991 amendment allows for, a lot.
- The commission is autonomous
- It is part of the federal manifestation of the constitution.
The smooth running of the election commission has various components who are themselves the pros and cons, like the politicians, they are required to dispense democracy. Not all are incorrigibly corrupt, there some ethics they do follow like the code of conduct.
The code of conduct is followed to the T of course the pre-election campaigns are used to plug the loopholes.
The indian buearocracy is very non-partisan when it comes to conducting the election and the credit for this goes to the hierarchy of the commission. All other nations have the issue of Partisan beaurocrats.
The election commission has now learnt to use the media for as its eye. When the media reports a descripancy that is considered as a complaint and is immediately acted upon.
The civil society of the NGO which can act as facilitators for good governance.
Voter education. With increased voter education the polling percentage has increased and the fear of muscle power has reduced.
New challenges we face:
- Criminalization of politics winnability is cited as the cause.
- Voter apathy
- Money power
- Paid news. Every politician has become a victim of these and all political parties are unanimous in claiming harassment.
Possible electoral reforms
- Cleansing – people with criminal conviction cannot contest an election.
- Meticulous accounting. Ideally the candidate has to open a fresh account for his electoral campaign and then provide the income expenditure sheets. This will also bring down the Beaurocrat, politician nexus.
- The Law of the land – innocent till proved otherwise is the loophole that the criminals hide behind. But there innumerable undertrails languishing in our jails, they don’t even have their 4 fundamental rights. Right to contest is not a fundamental right.
- Vulnerability map. This is indentifying potential trouble makers and keeping them under surveillance
- Shadow account the election commission keeps tracks of the income and expense of a politician, for example if there has been a rally and the politician cites expenses of 10,000/- while the obvious expense is of 20,000/- the election commission steps in.
Voter education. This is the most difficult issue to handle the commission has to create and utilize civil societies to achieve this. Door to door voter education and media counselling has increased the voter turn out by 3o% in many area.
Tags: international centre, good governance, election commission., electoral reforms.