In a welcome move, the Election Commission of India has renewed its efforts to link Voter ID with Aadhar card, in order to remove dual voter IDs and allow the migrant voters to vote from anywhere in the country. The Election Commission officials, including chief election commission officer Sunil Arora, met with the senior officials of the law ministry, to request them to move a cabinet note on linking of Voter IDs with Aadhar card.
“The commission is keen to make use of the unique ID numbers provided by Aadhaar scheme for cleaning electoral rolls,” the EC had said. “An error-free electoral roll forms the basis for a credible election.”
As of now, the election commission does not have “statutory authority” to collect Aadhar number of people, and a nod from the legislative and executive is required for this. The government has to amend the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) for the same.
As of now, two of the largest issues faced by the Election Commission are duplication of Voter IDs and inability of the migrant voters to participate in the democratic exercise. These two are the reasons behind the low voting percentage in the country.
The voter turnout in India seldom crosses 70 per cent mark whether it is general election, assembly election or local elections. The states with higher number of outward migration like Bihar Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan have abysmally low voter turnout as a large chunk of the population migrates to distant lands in order to look for employment and various other opportunities.
Migration is also reason behind dual voter IDs, as many families which migrate to cities have voter ID at the ancestral place as well as the place of current residence. These issues could be solved once the voter ID is linked with Aadhar card.
Previously, in the 2017 budget, the government made it mandatory to link Aadhar with Permanent Account Number (PAN). A few weeks ago, the Income Tax department announced that the PANs not linked with Aadhar will become inoperative after March 31, 2020.
“Whether a person, who has been allotted the permanent account number as on July 1, 2017, and is required to intimate his Aadhaar number under sub-section (2) of Section 139AA, has failed to intimate the same on or before March 31, 2020, the permanent account number of such person shall become inoperative immediately after the said date for the purpose of furnishing, intimating or quoting under the Act,” said the Income-tax department.
Aadhar is helping the government as well as other democratic institutions in taxation, social security benefits, weeding out dual voter IDs, as well as with direct benefit transfers.
Government has saved leakage of almost Rs 90,000 crore by using DBT. In 2016-17 alone, the government saved plugging leakage worth Rs 32, 984 crore. DBT also made transfer of MGNREGA benefits more transparent and removed the middle man. Earlier the gram pradhans used to force the beneficiaries to do household work or give them some agricultural work in their own land.
DBT has been hugely beneficial for the government to control the leakage in the delivery of public services. The leaders used to say that if we spend 100 rupees for welfare only 10 per cent of that reaches to people. Now by using DBT, the government could transfer 100 rupees directly to beneficiaries account.
The critics of Aadhar must shut their propaganda as not only the Modi government but other democratic institutions like Election Commission are also eager to use it.