To improve the electronic photo identity card (EPIC) or voter ID coverage, which is at present 92 per cent in the state, a pilot project under which citizens will get EPIC cards for a nominal fee of Rs 30 will be launched in Ahmednagar district.
The proposed pilot project will be rolled out after the Ganesh festival.
After Ahmednagar, the project will cover Pune that has 91 per cent coverage and the remaining parts of the state.
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“Even after launching several drives and initiatives, the district administration has not been successful in fulfilling citizens’ demands. There are several issues related to correction of names, photos and addresses on the EPIC cards that need to be addressed. The new initiative will help speed up work and the citizen will be able to get EPIC cards by paying a nominal fee of Rs 30 at the government centres, set up at tehsil and at village levels,’’ said Anil Valvi, joint chief electoral officer.
Officials said that the state lags behind from other states that have reached 98-99 per cent EPIC card coverage. However, the pilot project will enable citizens to apply for new EPIC cards or get them corrected without making rounds of the district office, they added.
“The election commission is urging citizens to have EPIC cards as a higher percentage will ensure a check on bogus voting,’’
said an official.
To roll out the initiative, the project will use SETU and Common Services Centres (SCS) that are already in place at tehsil and village levels. These centres are utilised to issue various government documents such as birth, death, and caste certificates and have proved to be very effective.
Issuing of voter ID cards has been a cumbersome experience owing to the shortage of staff in the EC. “These centres will help tackle this load,’’ said an official.
The new cards are made of PVC and have security features to curb misuse. The national emblem on the cards can be identified through ultra violet devices, if required, he added. The election commission has clarified that the new cards will not be a replacement for the existing cards. The cards will be issued to 60 lakh voters who are still without voter IDs.