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: Diverse range of issues need to be addressed before the upcoming general election. These issues are summarized in the newscard very decently.
- Recently Chief Election Commissioner emphatically ruled out the possibility of holding simultaneous elections to the state assemblies along with the Lok Sabha poll.
- However ECI has brought to notice range of issues to various political parties and invited a debate over them.
Various issues and forthcoming Elections
- In the times of social media and phased elections, how can campaign silence be maintained during the last 48 hours before the elections?
- The Election Commission will be debating this and seven other issues, including limiting of expenditure and increasing participation of women, at a multi-party meeting.
- All seven registered national political parties and 51 State political parties have been invited.
Last 48 hours campaigning under radar
- The law prohibits canvassing during the last 48 hours before the elections.
- This is meant to create an environment of neutrality and “silence” for the voter to exercise his franchise through reasoned reflection rather than be swayed by last-minute appeals by parties and candidates.
- The ECI has sought suggestions on how to address the issue of online canvassing to promote or prejudice the electoral prospects of a party/candidate on social media during the last 48 hours.
- Many parties in opposition have been consistently asking this question in view of the extensive campaigning on the ground and on social media ahead of each election.
Adding print media
- The ECI has asked the parties if the print media should also be brought within the ambit of Section 126(1)(b).
- This section lists mediums in which display of election matter is prohibited and includes television, cinematograph or similar apparatus of the Representation of the People Act.
- The ECI has asked political parties on whether there should be a ceiling on party election expenditure. The present election laws only provide a limit on a candidate’s expenditure.
- It has proposed that such ceiling should be either 50% of or not more than the expenditure ceiling limit provided for the candidate multiplied by the number of candidates of the party contesting the election.
- The Commission wants to know the views of political parties on bringing a ceiling for expenditure in the Legislative Council elections.
- In these elections, huge amounts of unaccounted-for money are often spent by the candidates.
Mainstreaming Migrant Voters
- The Commission has asked the parties to take note of alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants and absentee voters, such as postal, proxy and e-voting.
- The Commission has proposed five strategies, the agenda note says, to ensure that no migrant worker is left out.
- These include developing portability of voting rights by linking voter ID and Aadhaar.
- A one-time voluntary registration system for domestic migrants, electoral support services to be provided to migrants at the source and destination areas, raising awareness of voters’ rights and a helpline for domestic migrants are the other measures suggested by the Commission.
Increasing Women’s Representation
- The ECI has asked what measures can political parties undertake to encourage enhanced representation of women within the organisation structure of the political party.
- It has pulled out embarrassing statistics to build the case for a greater presence of women.
- There are only 11.4% women in the 16th Lok Sabha, substantially lower than the global average of 22.9%, the Commission noted.
- It has said that at least seven countries have laws reserving seats for women in legislature, including Nepal.