From missing and duplicate names in the voter list to conduct of elections and all the machinery required, getting any query related to the local body election process answered is going to be easier now with the Election Commission coming out with a book with all details for each local body.
A nine-member committee under Dr Shrikar Pardeshi readied these books on the lines of the SARATHI (System of assisting residents and tourists through helpline information) for municipal corporations, councils, zilla parishads and gram panchayats. Completed in six months, the books were submitted to the Election Commission on April 8. While voters can get the book at the offices of the local government bodies, the details will be gradually uploaded on the website too.
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“It was a humongous task. With the support of field officers from all the bodies, we were able to ready the voluminous work, which has been submitted to the state Election Commission,” said Pardeshi. Election Commissioner J S Sahariya has issued the order to come out with these books.
Pardeshi, who was the Inspector General of Registration and Stamps before he recently got his transfer orders to the Prime Minister’s Office as Deputy Secretary, had launched the SARATHI helpline and Citizen’s Charter to make government services user-friendly. He was entrusted with the task of compiling all the frequently answered questions by all the stakeholders as well as all the details of carrying out elections in the local government bodies.
From the actual election process to issues faced during elections and even queries by voters and media are covered in the books which run into many pages. “There were workshops conducted on how to go about with the book and only after discussion were we able to zero in on the model answers. At present, election officials have to refer to several books and orders to answer the queries. The book has attempted to have all the frequently answered questions in this one book,” said Pardeshi.
Separate books have been readied for each local body.
Once a common template was readied, a series of discussions were held by the sub-committees formed for each of the local bodies and they had to modify their books according to the process. The books are going to benefit all stakeholders — officials, candidates contesting elections, voters, media and the Election Commission.
To make it more accessible, there are plans to upload PDF format of the books on the state election website. A mobile app is also under consideration.
The objective was to have all hitherto scattered information at one place and bring about more transparency in the election process. “The aim was to compile and ready a comprehensive election booklet for each local body, which would be easily accessible for all stakeholders. This is an attempt to reach out to people for the election process,” said an official.