Electoral Reforms In India

[op-ed snap] Should India have simultaneous elections?

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Simultaneous election is a hot topic of discussion these days.


Benefits of holding simultaneous elections

  1. Holding simultaneous elections will ensure consistency, continuity and governance
  2. As continuity, consistency and governance are integral to democracy

How can it be done?

  1. Implementing simultaneous polls would require a substantial shift from the status quo
  2. And would involve amendments to the Constitution and election-related laws
  3. We have done this in case of the GST
  4. Earlier, tax collections were separate for the Centre and the States
  5. We have changed this now

Main concern

  1. In terms of governance and implementation of development programmes, enforcing the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is detrimental
  2. If we are preoccupied with local body elections and Assembly elections throughout the year, where is the time for developmental work?
  3. If we are occupied with different elections throughout the year, where is the time for developmental work, with the MCC kicking in every time these elections are held?

Simultaneous elections can help in curbing corruption

  1. Simultaneous elections can also be a means to curb corruption and build a more conducive socio-economic ecosystem
  2. While the Election Commission’s efforts to curb illicit finances are laudable, elections continue to be a conduit for black money and corruption

Simultaneous elections are a huge burden on resources

  1. Security personnel and government officials are effectively put on election duty for many months in a yea
  2. A case in point is the recurring engagement of teachers for election duty, as a result of which students suffer
  3. The cost of elections runs into thousands of crores and has been rising steadily

The way forward

  1. Holding simultaneous elections is not merely about elections; it is about stable governance
  2. Such a sensitive and far-reaching reform requires unanimous support from all political parties
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